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Carey Baker
Carey Baker
Property Appraiser for Lake County, Florida

In office
Preceded by Ed Havill
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 20th district

In office
Preceded by Anna Cowin
Succeeded by Alan Hays
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by Stan Bainter
Succeeded by Alan Hays
Personal details
Born March 16, 1963(1963-03-16) (age 58)
Eustis, Florida
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lori Baker
Residence Eustis, Florida
Alma mater Lake-Sumter Community College
Profession Owner, A.W. Peterson Gun Shop
Website Official House Website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1981–2013
Rank Army-USA-OR-08a.svg First Sergeant
Unit Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars Operation Iraqi Freedom

Carey Baker (born March 16, 1963) is the Lake County Property Appraiser and a former Republican member of the Florida Legislature. Baker served as the State Representative for the 25th District of the Florida House of Representatives from 2000-2004[1] and served as the State Senator for the 20th District of the Florida Senate from 2004-2010. Baker is also the owner of the A.W. Peterson Gun Shop and a retired First Sergeant in the Florida Army National Guard.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Carey Baker is a Lake County, Florida native, born and raised in Eustis. He is the son of former State Representative Leighton Baker. Baker's family has owned the A.W. Peterson Gun Shop since 1952. When Baker was 18 years old, he joined the family business and still operates it today.[2] Baker currently resides with his wife Lori and their three children (Leighton, Caroline, and Reagan) in Eustis.

Education[edit | edit source]

Carey Baker graduated from Tavares High School and attended Lake-Sumter Community College.[3]

Leighton Baker[edit | edit source]

Carey Baker's father, Leighton Baker, was born in Durand, Illinois. A veteran of World War II, he served with the 79th Infantry in Europe and received the Bronze Star. In 1950, the elder Baker was teaching in Denver when he purchased the A.W. Peterson Gun Shop. Founded in 1879, it is the oldest gun store in the country. In 1953, Leighton Baker moved the A.W. Peterson Gun Shop to Mount Dora to help with his asthma.[4]

In 1962, Leighton Baker ran for the Florida House of Representatives and won a seat that covered much of Lake County. [5] Leighton Baker was the first Republican elected to office in Lake County since Reconstruction. In 1964, Leighton Baker served as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention in San Francisco that nominated Barry Goldwater.[6]

Military service[edit | edit source]

March 2, 2004: Rep. Carey Baker presents the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag on the Floor of the Florida House of Representatives. (photo by Mark Foley)

Carey joined the Florida Army National Guard while still in high school.

In 2003, while a Member of the Florida House of Representatives, Baker was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[7] Baker served as First Sergeant of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, which was assigned to protect a logistic base near Balad. The area, north of Baghdad, is located in the Sunni Triangle, one of the most dangerous areas in Iraq. During his deployment, Baker faced numerous close calls: in one instance, a mortar round hit a bus full of soldiers. The base Baker was stationed at was under constant attack by mortar fire and rocket fire, on his last day of deployment, a missile landed in the camp but did not explode.[8][9]

March 2, 2004: Rep. Carey Baker, who recently returned from National Guard duty in Iraq, salutes Gov. Jeb Bush on the House floor after presenting him an American flag flown in Iraq. (photo by Mark Foley)

He was the first state or federal elected official to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom while also holding elected office. Baker's colleagues in the House tied a yellow ribbon around his chair on the House floor, which remained in place until he returned. In 2004, the Florida Legislature unanimously passed House Bill 1757, the Carey Baker Freedom Flag Act.[10] This act amended Florida law to require that every classroom in any public K-20 educational institution must display the American Flag on a daily basis. The flag must be made in the United States and must be properly displayed in accordance with United States Code. The law mandated that the required flags be displayed in each classroom no later than August 1, 2005.[11]

In 2007, Baker was part of a thirteen member team of Florida Army National Guardsmen, sent to train soldiers from former Soviet Union satellite countries.[12]

During his military career, Baker graduated from numerous military courses and schools, including the U.S. Army Jungle Operation School and the U.S. Army Pathfinder School. He retired in 2013, after serving over thirty-one years and attaining the rank of First Sergeant.[13]

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

4th Infantry Division CSIB.png
124 Inf Rgt DUI.png
Combat Infantry Badge.svg
US Army Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge-Generic.png

Political career[edit | edit source]

Rep. Ralph Poppell (R-Titusville), left, and Rep. Carey Baker (R-Eustis), right, confer on the House floor March 9, 2004. (photo by Mark Foley)

In 2000, a record 83 incumbent state legislators were forced to retire, victims of term-limits added to the Florida Constitution by 77 percent of the voters in 1992.[14] Included in this group was Representative Stan Bainter of Eustis, causing the House District 25 seat to be open for the first time since 1986. The 25th House District included southwest Marion County, east Lake County, northwest Seminole County and west Volusia County.

Carey Baker ran for the Republican nomination, handily defeating Betty Hensinger, a Lake County businesswoman, in the Primary Election. In the November General Election, he defeated DeBary Democrat Rick Dwyer, a computer consultant to secure election to the Florida House of Representatives. Baker was subsequently reelected to the House in 2002 without opposition. While serving in the Florida House of Representatives, Baker served as the Vice Chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee (2001-2002), Co-Chair of the Agriculture & Environment Appropriations Sub-Committee (2003-2004) and served on the Fiscal Policy and Resources Committee (2001-2002), Insurance Committee (2001-2002) and the Workforce and Technical Skills Committee (2001-2002).[15] In 2004 Anna Cowin, the Leesburg Republican who held the 20th District State Senate Seat, announced that she would not seek re-election to her seat and instead would run for Lake County Superintendent of Schools. Baker announced his intention to run for the Senate seat and won the 2004 Special Election.[16] He was re-elected to full terms in 2006 and 2008.[17] The 20th Senate district includes parts of Marion, Sumter, Lake, Volusia and Seminole counties. While serving in the Florida Senate he served as Chairman of the Senate Government Operations Chairman,[18] Senate Transportation Committee, Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate General Government Appropriation Committee.[19]

Senator Carey Baker with Legislative Aide Mike Norris and Miami Heat Center Alonzo Mourning

In 2012, Baker defeated long-time incumbent Ed Havill for the position of Property Appraiser of Lake County, Florida.[20] In 2014, Baker was elected president of the Florida Association of Property Appraisers.[21]

Legislative accomplishments[edit | edit source]

In 2003, Representative Carey Baker introduced HB 805, which expanded Florida's private school voucher program to the families of military personnel. As Baker was deployed to Iraq, Rep. Frank Attkisson presented the bill on Baker's behalf. The bill passed 74-42.[22]

In 2004, Baker passed legislation designating an eight mile stretch of State Road 50, from Mascotte to Stuckey, the "Eric Ulysses Ramirez Highway". Ramirez was a 1991 graduate of Mount Dora High School, serving in the National Guard. He was killed on February 12, 2004 in Iraq. He was 31 years old.[23] In 2006, Senator Baker passed the Justin McWilliams Act into law. The legislation closed a "legal loophole" in the Florida statutes, applying the State Uniform Traffic Rules to private property.[24]

In 2007, Baker filed a bill to established a sales tax holiday, from June 1 through 12, 2007, exempting taxes on hurricane preparedness items. The holiday was expected to save Floridians almost $25 million in 2007 alone.[25] Baker first introduced legislation to ban texting while driving in 2007. Baker filed the bill after tractor-trailer driver Reinaldo Gonzalez slammed into a school bus while he was on his phone, killing a 13-year old girl. The legislation died in committee.[26] In 2010, while serving as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, Baker filed SB 324 and SB 326, which would have banned anyone younger than 18 years of age from writing or sending a text message on an electronic communications device while operating a motor vehicle, but it died in committee.[27] In 2008, Baker introduced SB 1992, the Real ID Act. The act implemented recommendation of the 9/11 Commission concerning state standards for driver licenses. In 2009, Baker was named "Senator of the Year" by the Florida Fraternal Order of Police.[28]

In 2010, Baker introduced SJR 72, the Health Care Freedom Act. The act placed an initiative on the ballot that would have banned any laws requiring people to participate in a health care system. The bill passed the Senate and House and was placed on the ballot as Amendment 9.[29] On July 29, 2010. Leon County Circuit Judge James Shelfer said the measure was misleading and could confuse voters. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling on August 31, 2010.

Electoral history[edit | edit source]

2000 Florida 25th House District Primary Election[30]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Carey Baker 5,731 49
Republican Betty Hensinger 4,625 39
Republican Randy Wiseman 1,283 11
2000 Florida 25th House District Primary Election Runoff[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Carey Baker 5,505 63
Republican Betty Hensinger 3,206 36
2000 Florida 25th House District General Election[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Carey Baker 35,304 62
Democratic Rick Dwyer 21,520 37

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Representative Carey Baker". Florida House of Representatives. https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4201&LegislativeTermId=79. 
  2. "Bainter's Seat Ignites Interest In District 25 Race". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1999-11-28/news/9911270249_1_carey-baker-lake-county-board-members. 
  3. "Meet Carey Baker". Lake County Property Appraiser. https://www.lakecopropappr.com/meet_appraiser.aspx. 
  4. "Elephants are no strangers to Mount Dora". Daily Commercial. https://www.dailycommercial.com/news/20161120/elephants-are-no-strangers-to-mount-dora. 
  5. "Bainter's Seat Ignites Interest In District 25 Race". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1999-11-28/news/9911270249_1_carey-baker-lake-county-board-members. 
  6. "Over A Million People Evacuate Eastern Coast of Florida; Interview with Rudy Guiliani; 3 French Journalist Hostages Released To Sunni Group". CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0409/02/wbr.00.html. 
  7. "Rumsfeld overrules Army, lets Pippy run". Post Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030306pippyrp4.asp. 
  8. "Over A Million People Evacuate Eastern Coast of Florida; Interview with Rudy Giuliani; 3 French Journalist Hostages Released To Sunni Group". CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0409/02/wbr.00.html. 
  9. "Making Up For Year's Sacrifice". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2004-02-04/news/0402040093_1_carey-baker-iraq-national-guard. 
  10. "To Tallahassee and Back: Flying America's Flag in Florida Classrooms". New Port Richey Patch. https://patch.com/florida/newportrichey/bp--to-tallahassee-and-back-flying-americas-flag-in-f9a703ce775. 
  11. "Carey Baker Freedom Flag Act". Florida Department of Education. https://info.fldoe.org/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2214/TAPa.pdf. 
  12. "Baker Evaluates Military Fusion In Ukraine". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2007-07-26/news/LBRIEFS26_3_1_carey-baker-eustis-florida-national. 
  13. "Meet Carey Baker". Lake County Property Appraiser. https://www.lakecopropappr.com/meet_appraiser.aspx. 
  14. "Florida legislators propose increasing term limits". Miami Herald. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article45621033.html#storylink=cpy. 
  15. "Speaker Feeney Appoints Council and Committee Members for 2001-2002". Florida Legislature. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/cgi-bin/View_Page.pl?Tab=legislators&Submenu=1&File=h33_071801.html&Directory=Legislators/house/033/press/. 
  16. "Lawmaker To Try For Cowin Post". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2004-05-15/news/0405150253_1_carey-baker-cowin-eustis. 
  17. "Meet Carey Baker". https://www.lakecopropappr.com/meet_appraiser.aspx. 
  18. "State will keep King Air 350 in executive airpool". Sun Sentinel. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfl-mtblog-2009-04-state_will_keep_king_air_350_i-story.html. 
  19. "Carey Baker". Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/Carey_Baker. 
  20. "Carey Baker to First Complete Late Property Appraiser’s Term". Sunshine State News. http://sunshinestatenews.com/blog/carey-baker-first-complete-late-property-appraiser%E2%80%99s-term. 
  21. "Property Appraiser Carey Baker elected association president". Orlando Sentinel. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/lake/os-lk-carey-baker-property-appraiser-president-20141216-story.html. 
  22. "Bill offering vouchers to military families passes House". St. Augustine Record. http://staugustine.com/stories/032603/sta_1420761.shtml#.WhZw4DdryM8. 
  23. "State Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, on Monday". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2005-11-22/news/LCOPYBLOCK22_1_mascotte-eric-ramirez-carey-baker. 
  24. "The Justin McWilliams Act". Parents Encouraging Confident Choices. http://www.pecc.us.com/The-Justin-McWilliams-Act.shtml. 
  25. "Florida governor announces hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday". Eglin Air Force Base. http://www.eglin.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/393463/florida-governor-announces-hurricane-preparedness-sales-tax-holiday/. 
  26. "Still Talking and Driving in Florida". Excell Communications. http://www.excell.ca/news_details.asp?NewsStoryID=289. 
  27. "Florida: Cell phone laws, legislation (2008-2010)". Hands Free Info. http://handsfreeinfo.com/fla-distracted-driving-archive/. 
  28. "Florida State FOP Names Carey Baker Senator of the Year". Florida State Fraternal Order of Police. http://www.floridastatefop.org/pdf_files/carey_baker.pdf. 
  29. "Florida Health Care Freedom Act Passes House and Senate". American Legislative Exchange Council. https://www.alec.org/press-release/florida-health-care-freedom-act-passes-house-and-senate-mississippi-measure-poised-for-2011-ballot/. 
  30. "Official Results September 5, 2000 Republican Primary Election". Florida Department of State. September 5, 2000. https://results.elections.myflorida.com/. Retrieved December 1, 2017. 
  31. "Official Results October 3, 2000 Republican Primary Runoff Election". Florida Department of State. October 3, 2000. https://results.elections.myflorida.com/. Retrieved December 1, 2017. 
  32. "Official Results November 7, 2000 General Election". Florida Department of State. November 7, 2000. https://results.elections.myflorida.com/. Retrieved December 1, 2017. 

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