Val Demings

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Val Demings
Val Demings, Official Portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 10th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byDaniel Webster
Chief of the Orlando Police Department
In office
December 16, 2007 – June 1, 2011
Preceded byMichael McCoy
Succeeded byPaul Rooney
Personal details
Born
Valdez Venita Butler

(1957-03-12) March 12, 1957 (age 65)
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse
(m. 1988)
Children3
EducationFlorida State University (BS)
Webster University Orlando (MPA)
Police career
DepartmentOrlando Police Department
Service years1983–2011
RankChief

Valdez Venita Demings (née Butler; born March 12, 1957) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative from Florida's 10th congressional district since 2017. The district covers most of the western half of Orlando and includes much of the area around Orlando's resort parks. It includes many of Orlando's western suburbs, including Apopka and Winter Garden. From 2007 to 2011, Demings was chief of the Orlando Police Department, its first female chief, capping a 27-year career with the department. She has also been first lady of Orange County, Florida, since December 4, 2018, when her husband Jerry Demings was sworn in as the mayor.

Demings was the Democratic nominee to represent Florida's 10th congressional district in Congress in both 2012 and 2016. After losing in 2012 to Republican incumbent Daniel Webster, she won in 2016 after the State Supreme Court mandated the creation of a new, majority-black district in Orlando.[1]

On January 15, 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected Demings to serve as an impeachment manager in the first Senate trial of President Donald Trump.[2] In early August 2020, Demings was said to be one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden's vice-presidential running mate in the 2020 United States presidential election, along with Kamala Harris and Susan Rice.[3] She is the Democratic nominee in the 2022 United States Senate election in Florida.

Early life and education[edit]

Valdez Venita Butler was born on March 12, 1957,[4] one of seven children born to a poor family; her father worked as a janitor, her mother as a maid. They lived in Mandarin, a neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended segregated schools in the 1960s, graduating from Wolfson High School in the 1970s.[5]

Demings became interested in a career in law enforcement after serving in the "school patrol" at Dupont Junior High School. She attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.[5]

In 1996, Demings earned a master's degree in public administration from Webster University Orlando.[6][7]

Early career[edit]

After graduating from college, Demings worked as a state social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months.[5]

In 1983, Demings applied for a job with the Orlando Police Department (OPD); her first assignment was on patrol on Orlando's west side.[5] Demings was appointed chief of the Orlando Police Department in 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.[8][9] From 2007 to 2011, she oversaw a 40% decrease in violent crime.[10]

According to a 2015 article in The Atlantic, the Orlando Police Department "has a long record of excessive-force allegations, and a lack of transparency on the subject, dating back at least as far as Demings's time as chief."[11] A 2008 Orlando Weekly exposé described the Orlando Police Department as "a place where rogue cops operate with impunity, and there's nothing anybody who finds himself at the wrong end of their short fuse can do about it."[12] Demings responded with an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, writing, "Looking for a negative story in a police department is like looking for a prayer at church", adding, "It won't take long to find one." In the same op-ed, she cast doubt on video evidence that conflicts with officers' statements in excessive force cases, writing, "a few seconds (even of video) rarely capture the entire set of circumstances."[11]

In 2009, she had her firearm, a Sig Sauer P226R, stolen from her department vehicle while parked at her home; she was issued a written censure. The firearm has not been recovered.[13]

Demings retired from her position as chief of OPD effective June 1, 2011, after serving with the OPD for 27 years.[14][15][11]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2016[edit]

Demings was the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 10th congressional district in the 2012 elections.[16] She faced freshman Republican Daniel Webster in a district that had been made slightly more Republican than its predecessor in 2010. Demings narrowly lost, taking 48% of the vote to Webster's 51%.[17]

Democrats attempted to recruit Demings to run against Webster again in 2014.[18] She decided to run for mayor of Orange County, Florida, against Teresa Jacobs, instead,[19] but dropped out of the mayoral race on May 20, 2014.[20]

In 2015, Demings announced her candidacy for the 10th district seat after a court-ordered redistricting made the 10th significantly more Democratic ahead of the 2016 elections.[21] Webster concluded the new 10th was unwinnable, and ran for reelection in the nearby 11th district.

Demings won the Democratic nomination on August 30[22] and the general election in November with 65% of the vote.[23][24] She is the third Democrat to win this Orlando-based district since its creation in 1973 (it was numbered as the 5th from 1973 to 1993, the 8th from 1993 to 2013, and has been the 10th since 2013).

2018[edit]

In her 2018 reelection campaign, Demings was unopposed for a second term.[25]

2020[edit]

On May 21, 2020, Demings confirmed she was on "the shortlist" to be Joe Biden's vice presidential nominee for the 2020 presidential election. She said she would accept the role if offered.[26] Some critics, including Black Lives Matter activists, criticized her record as Orlando police chief.[27][28] Kamala Harris was announced as Biden's running mate on August 11, 2020. In November 2020, Demings was named a candidate for United States Secretary of Homeland Security in the Biden administration.[29]

Tenure[edit]

Demings (furthest to right) with Congressional Black Caucus women

Demings was sworn in on January 3, 2017. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition[30] and the Congressional Black Caucus.[31]

As of March 2022, Demings had voted in line with Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[32]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

2022 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

In June 2021, Demings announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in Florida's 2022 U.S. Senate election.[35] The incumbent U.S. Senator is Republican Marco Rubio. In March 2022, PolitiFact reported that Demings falsely claimed that Rubio supported tax hikes.[36]

Political positions[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Demings received a 100% voting score from NARAL Pro-Choice America for 2017, 2018, and 2019.[37] She received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood Action Fund for 2020.[38] She has an F rating from the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.[39]

Civil liberties[edit]

Demings received a 100% rating from the American Civil Liberties Union for the 117th Congress.[40]

Climate and environment[edit]

Demings received a 97% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters based on scores from 2017 to 2021.[41][42]

Filibuster[edit]

Demings supports eliminating the filibuster in the United States Senate.[43][44][45]

Gun policy[edit]

Demings has said that she seeks to keep firearms out of the hands of "people who seek to do harm", saying that the gun control legislation she supports "isn’t about taking guns away from responsible, law-abiding people."[46] She supported the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017, which would have provided a lawful method of temporarily confiscating firearms from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. Of the act, Demings said, "We must do what we can to make sure law enforcement has the tools it needs to more effectively perform the ever more challenging job of keeping us a safe nation. The Gun Violence Restraining Order Act is a major step to doing just that."[47] After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Demings opposed arming teachers, calling the idea "ridiculous"[48] and saying it would "only shift the responsibility from lawmakers to others. It shifts the pain, the hurt, and the guilt to school staff who will find themselves outskilled and outgunned in active shooter situations."[47]

Demings has an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).[49] She has accused the NRA of "hijacking" conversations after mass shootings in the United States to make them about the Second Amendment.[50]

Healthcare[edit]

Demings supports and has vowed to defend the Affordable Care Act.[51]

In June 2019 Demings released a congressional report on insulin prices, criticizing manufacturers for raising prices well beyond manufacturing costs, and said it was "inexcusable that American families are dying for the sake of corporate profit."[52]

Impeachments of President Donald Trump[edit]

On December 18, 2019, Demings voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.[53] She was selected as one of seven impeachment managers who presented the impeachment case against Trump during his trial before the United States Senate.[54]

On January 13, 2021, Demings voted for the single article of impeachment in the second impeachment of President Donald Trump.[55]

2021 U.S. Electoral College vote count[edit]

Citing the unusually contested 2021 United States Electoral College vote count and the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Demings joined Representative Cori Bush in sponsoring House Resolution 25 on January 11, 2021, seeking to expel the 138 Republican U.S. Representatives who voted to object to the electoral college certification.[56][57][58][59]

Personal life[edit]

Demings's husband, Jerry Demings, is mayor of Orange County, Florida, and the former Orange County Sheriff.[15] He served as the chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first African American to do so, from 1999 to 2002.[5][7] The two met on patrol in the OPD; they married in 1988 and have three children.[5]

Demings is a member of The Links and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.[60][61]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Florida U.S. House 10th District Results: Val Demings Wins". The New York Times. New York City. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  2. ^ DeBonis, Mike (January 15, 2020). "Schiff, Nadler lead group of House managers to prosecute Trump in Senate impeachment trial". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nash Holdings. Archived from the original on January 16, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  3. ^ Rosenthal, Brian; Mazzei, Patricia. "Val Demings Is on Biden's V.P. List. Will Her Police Career Hurt or Help?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  4. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 24, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Leusner, Jim (December 16, 2007). "Val Demings takes over as Orlando's police chief Monday". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing Company. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  6. ^ "Valerie Demings". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Married cops to head next-door agencies – US news – Life | NBC News". NBC News. January 25, 2009. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  8. ^ Schlueb, Mark (November 28, 2007). "OPD MILESTONE". OrlandoSentinel.com.
  9. ^ "Val Demings' retirement opinion: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing. May 5, 2011. Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  10. ^ Lemongello, Steven; Weiner, Jeff (June 5, 2020). "Val Demings' Orlando police career could hurt — or help — her chances to become Joe Biden's running mate". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Fitzpatrick, Jack (September 8, 2015). "Orlando Police Complaints in the Spotlight as African-American Ex-Chief Runs for Congress". The Atlantic. Boston, Massachusetts: Emerson Collective. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  12. ^ Billman, Jeffrey C. (July 10, 2008). "MIGHT MAKES RIGHT". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  13. ^ Pacheco, Walter (April 10, 2009). "Demings censured for not properly securing gun". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  14. ^ Schlueb, Mark (May 3, 2011). "Val Demings retiring, Deputy Chief Paul Rooney is new Orlando police chief". The Orlando Sentinel.
  15. ^ a b Schlueb, Mark (May 3, 2011). "Orlando Police Chief Val Demings retiring: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  16. ^ Green, Merissa (October 1, 2012). "Rep. Daniel Webster Challenged By Val Demings, Ex-Chief of Police". The Ledger. Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  17. ^ Schlueb, Mark (November 6, 2012). "Dan Webster beats Val Demings, wins second term". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  18. ^ Damron, David (October 7, 2013). "Demings still undecided on next political move". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  19. ^ Powers, Scott (January 7, 2014). "Val Demings takes on Teresa Jacobs for Orange County Mayor". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  20. ^ "Val Demings drops out of Orange County mayoral race". mynews13.com. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  21. ^ Powers, Scott (August 17, 2015). "Val Demings to run for Congress". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  22. ^ "Val Demings wins Democratic primary for US House District 10: Former Orlando police chief to face off against Thuy Lowe in November". clickorlando.com. August 30, 2016. Archived from the original on September 1, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Comas, Martin E. (November 8, 2016). "Political newcomer Murphy pulls stunner, unseats Mica; Demings defeats Lowe". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  24. ^ "Florida U.S. House 10th District Results: Val Demings Wins". The New York Times. New York City. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  25. ^ "House elections 2018: Uncontested races - Washington Post". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  26. ^ "Demings Says She's on Biden's Shortlist". Political Wire. May 21, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  27. ^ "Former cop Demings faces progressive pushback in veepstakes". The Hill. June 19, 2020.
  28. ^ "Criminal Justice Backgrounds of Kamala Harris, Val Demings Come Into Question As Joe Biden Shortlists Them For VP". Newsweek. June 15, 2020.
  29. ^ "Who Are Contenders for Biden's Cabinet?". The New York Times. November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  30. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  31. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  32. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  33. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. newdemocratcoalition.house.gov. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  34. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  35. ^ Lemongello, Steven (June 9, 2021). "Val Demings launches 2022 campaign for Senate against Marco Rubio". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  36. ^ Washington, District of Columbia 1800 I. Street NW (March 9, 2022). "PolitiFact - No proof for Val Demings claim that Marco Rubio backs tax hikes like those indicated in Scott's plan". @politifact. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  37. ^ "Val Demings (D) Score". NARAL Pro-Choice. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  38. ^ "2020 Congressional Scorecard". Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  39. ^ "Nationsl anti-scorecard- Val Demings". Susan B Anthony LIst. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  40. ^ "LEGISLATIVE SCORECARD Scorecard forVal Butler Demings". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  41. ^ "Check out Representative Val Demings's Environmental Voting Record". League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. February 14, 2022. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  42. ^ "Analysis | Leading climate group endorses six Democrats running for Senate". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  43. ^ "Rep. Demings Comments on Senate Filibuster". U.S. Representative Val Demings. June 22, 2021. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  44. ^ "Val Demings: 'Time Is Now' To Get Rid Of Senate Filibuster, Eviction Pause Expiring, And COVID Climb". WUSF Public Media. July 10, 2021. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  45. ^ Demings, Val. "Voters didn't elect us to do nothing and blame the Senate filibuster. Get rid of it". USA TODAY. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  46. ^ Demings, Val (June 12, 2017). "A year after Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, we're going backward on guns". USA Today. McLean, Virginia. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  47. ^ a b Powers, Scott (February 16, 2018). "Val Demings pushes bill to seek gun restraining orders on people deemed dangerous". Florida Politics. Peter Schorsch. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  48. ^ Bennett, John T. (February 21, 2018). "Shooting Survivors, Victims' Families Tell Trump Emotional Stories". Roll Call. CQ Roll Call. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  49. ^ Berlow, Alan (May 1, 2013). "Gun lobby's money and power still holds sway over Congress". The Center for Public Integrity. The Center for Public Integrity. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  50. ^ Yanes, Nadeen (February 16, 2018). "What have Florida's politicians done to change gun laws?". News 6. Orlando, Florida. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  51. ^ Gillespie, Ryan. "Val Demings vows to defend Affordable Care Act at Sunday town hall". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  52. ^ Powers, Scott (February 26, 2017). "Val Demings issues report on insulin: 'It is inexcusable'". Florida Politics. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  53. ^ Panetta, Grace (December 18, 2019). "WHIP COUNT: Here's which members of the House voted for and against impeaching Trump". Business Insider. New York City: Springer.
  54. ^ Wilkie, Christina (January 15, 2020). "Pelosi taps Schiff, Nadler and 5 others as Trump impeachment managers". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  55. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154 (January 13, 2021). "Roll Call 17, Bill Number: H. Res. 24, 117th Congress, 1st Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  56. ^ "H.Res.25 - Directing the Committee on Ethics to investigate, and issue a report on, whether any and all actions taken by Members of the 117th Congress who sought to overturn the 2020 Presidential election violated their oath of office to uphold the Constitution or the Rules of the House of Representatives, and should face sanction, including removal from the House of Representatives". Congress.gov. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  57. ^ Manjarres, Javier (January 26, 2021). "Demings still pushing for full GOP riot accountability". The Floridian. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  58. ^ Benchaabane, Nassim. "Bush files resolution to expel Republican lawmakers who objected to election results". St Louis Post-Dispatch Today. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  59. ^ Congressional Staff (January 11, 2021). "REP. DEMINGS DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY". Demings.house.gov. Press Release. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  60. ^ "Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Lauds The Links, Incorporated and Issues Voting Rights Call to Action". Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. April 20, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  61. ^ "Congresswoman Demings". U.S. Representative Val Demings. January 5, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2022.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 10th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Florida
(Class 3)

2022
Most recent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
250th
Succeeded by