Candidate Questionnaire: David Baria | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Candidate Questionnaire: David Baria

David Baria, a longtime state lawmaker, has set his sights on D.C. with a run for Sen. Roger Wicker’s Senate seat; his first challenge will be the crowded Democratic primary in June.

David Baria, a longtime state lawmaker, has set his sights on D.C. with a run for Sen. Roger Wicker’s Senate seat; his first challenge will be the crowded Democratic primary in June. Photo by David Baria Campaign

Fast Facts About David Baria

Election: Democratic Senate Primary

Age: 55

Family: Wife, Marcie, Daughters: Merritt and Bess; Son: Max

Place of Residence: Bay St. Louis, MS

Education: BS: University of Southern Mississippi; JD: University of Mississippi

Work Experience: Trial lawyer for 28 years: Small business owner

Current Job: Partner in the Baria and Jones, PLLC

The Jackson Free Press reached out to all candidates in the four Mississippi Congressional districts who are listed on a primary election ballot on June 5, regardless of whether they had a challenger or not. Each candidate received the same five-question questionnaire. We've published their responses in full below, with minimal edits for editorial/reader clarity only. The JFP did not copyedit or line-edit candidate responses. The views expressed by candidates do not necessarily reflect the views of the JFP.

Why does your district (for senators, your state) need you right now?

It's time for a change. Mississippi and this country needs a change. We’ve had decades of failed leadership in Washington with policies that do not move Mississippi forward. Today, almost two in five born in Mississippi live elsewhere. A state blessed with so many talented people should never be last. I am committed to helping Mississippi reach its true potential. Mississippi needs someone with policy making knowledge and experience coupled with business acumen and a commitment to social justice. I am that person. I’m a trial lawyer dedicated to protecting the interests of the everyday man. I have served in the Mississippi Senate and I’m currently the Minority Caucus Chair in the House of Representatives. I’ve experienced the loss of my home and one that I loved, both in less than 30 days in the aftermath of Katrina. These losses were life changing and humbling experiences. It was out of those very profound losses that I dedicated my life to public service.

Provide one or two examples of when you have been an advocate for your district (or state) in your personal or professional life. What was the result?

The decision to run for the Mississippi state senate is a direct outgrowth of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the devastation and despair that was rampant on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. People were suffering and hurting. Some businesses and government entities were non-responsive and cavalier. The insurance industry was not treating people fairly or making them whole. I ran for the senate because it was important that people have elected representation that advocated for and was responsive to them. I came to Jackson as a single-issue candidate-- insurance reform. I was able to help secure some insurance reforms. Once I arrived in Jackson, my eyes were opened to the needs for public policies that made life better for all Mississippians. The issues that I advocated and championed expanded. I advocated for full funding of public schools and co-authored an amendment that put an additional $20 million in the k-12 budget. I passed a law that required fences with locking gates around pools in the wake of a child’s drowning. I also successfully advocated for laws that lead directly to the expansion of craft brewing in Mississippi and directly benefitted the first such brewery in Kiln, MS.

In the past year or so, what was the most important vote taken for your district (or state)? How would you have voted and why? What is the most pressing issue for your district (or state)?

In the most recent legislative session the education funding rewrite bill was the most important vote taken. Education is the great equalizer. All children and communities should have great schools. It is the backbone to a vibrant economy. The Mississippi legislature has woefully underfunded public education using the formula currently on the books. If that formula is to be changed, the new formula must be objective not subjective and fair. It is also imperative that the state legislature commit and fund the amount required by law. I voted against the funding rewrite bill because there would be winners and losers.

If you could propose one piece of legislation that would greatly improve the quality of life for people your district (or state) what would it be?

Quality and affordable healthcare for all would be the one piece of legislation that would greatly improve the quality of life for people of this state and this nation.

If you are unsuccessful in winning your race, how specifically will you continue working on behalf of your district (or state)?

I will continue to advocate for my constituents, speak truth to power, work to inform and rationally discuss issues with Mississippians rather than use sound bites and hyperbolic speech. I will continue to be responsive to the needs of Mississippians. In other words, I do not intend to change. I will only be working with a larger platform from Washington.

Read more 2018 election stories at jfp.ms/2018elections. The JFP is still taking candidate questionnaires. Don't see your candidate? Tell them to email their questionnaire to [email protected].

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