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 2, 2007 – June 1, 2011
Personal details
Valdez Venita Butler

(1957-03-12) March 12, 1957 (age 62)
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Jerry Demings (m. 1988)
EducationFlorida State University (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

Valdez Venita "Val" Demings (née Butler; March 12, 1957) is an American law enforcement officer and politician who serves as the United States Representative from Florida's 10th congressional district. She served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. She was the Democratic nominee in both 2012 and 2016 to represent Florida's 10th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, the latter of which Demings won.[1]

Early life[edit]

Valdez Venita Butler was born on March 12, 1957,[2] one of seven children born to a poor family; her father worked in orange groves, while her mother was a housekeeper. They lived in Mandarin, a neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended segregated schools in the 1960s, graduating from Wolfson High School in the 1970s.[3]

Her desire for a career in law enforcement came when Demings served in the "school patrol" at Dupont Junior High School. She attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.[3]

Early career[edit]

After graduating from college, Demings worked as a social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months.[3][4] In 1983, she applied for a job with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), and she began with the department on patrol on Orlando's west side.[3]

Demings was appointed as chief of the OPD in December 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.[5] As chief, she was credited with reducing violent crime in Orlando. She retired from the position effective June 1, 2011, after serving with the OPD for 27 years.[6]

Political career[edit]

Demings was the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 10th congressional district in the 2012 elections.[7] She faced freshman Republican Daniel Webster in a district that had been made slightly more Republican than its predecessor. Demings narrowly lost, taking 48 percent of the vote to Webster's 51 percent.[8]

Democrats attempted to recruit Demings to run against Webster again in 2014.[9] After considering her options, she decided to run for Mayor of Orange County, Florida, against Teresa Jacobs, instead.[10] Demings dropped out of the mayoral race on May 20, 2014.[11]

Demings ran again for the 10th district seat after a court-ordered redistricting made the 10th significantly more Democratic ahead of the 2016 elections.[12] She won the Democratic Party nomination on August 30,[13] and won the general election with 65% of the vote.[14] She is only the third Democrat ever 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).

In her 2018 reelection campaign, Demings was unopposed for a second term.[15]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Rep. Demings was sworn in on January 3, 2017. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition[16] and the Congressional Black Caucus.[17]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Gun policy[edit]

Demings has stated that she seeks to keep firearms out of the hands of "people who seek to do harm," saying that the gun control legislation that she supports "isn’t about taking guns away from responsible, law-abiding people."[19] Demings supports the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017, which would provide 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."[20] In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Demings announced her opposition to proposals to arm teachers, saying such efforts were "ridiculous"[21] and "only shift the responsibility from lawmakers to others. It shifts the pain, the hurt, and the guilt to school staff who will find themselves out skilled and outgunned in active shooter situations."[20]

Demings has an "F" rating from the NRA, which they award to those they deem a "true enemy of gun owners' rights".[22] Demings has accused the NRA of "hijacking" conversations after mass shootings to make them about the Second Amendment.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Her husband, Jerry Demings, is the former Orange County Sheriff and current Mayor of Orange County, Florida.[6] Previously, he served as the Chief of the OPD, the first African American to do so, from 1999 through 2002.[3][4] The two met while on patrol in the OPD; they married in 1988 and have three children.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Florida U.S. House 10th District Results: Val Demings Wins". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  2. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Val Demings takes over as Orlando's police chief Monday". December 16, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Married cops to head next-door agencies – US news – Life | NBC News". MSNBC. January 25, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "Val Demings' retirement opinion: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. May 5, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Schlueb, Mark (May 3, 2011). "Orlando Police Chief Val Demings retiring: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  7. ^ Green, Merissa (October 1, 2012). "Rep. Daniel Webster Challenged By Val Demings, Ex-Chief of Police". The Ledger. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  8. ^ Schlueb, Mark (November 6, 2012). "Dan Webster beats Val Demings, wins second term". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  9. ^ Damron, David (October 7, 2013). "Demings still undecided on next political move". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  10. ^ Powers, Scott (January 7, 2014). "Val Demings takes on Teresa Jacobs for Orange County Mayor". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  11. ^ "Val Demings drops out of Orange County mayoral race". Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  12. ^ Powers, Scott (August 17, 2015). "Val Demings to run for Congress". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "Val Demings wins Democratic primary for US House District 10: Former Orlando police chief to face off against Thuy Lowe in November". August 30, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  14. ^ Comas, Martin E. (November 8, 2016). "Political newcomer Murphy pulls stunner, unseats Mica; Demings defeats Lowe". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  17. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  18. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  19. ^ Demings, Val (June 12, 2017). "A year after Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, we're going backward on guns". USA Today. McLean, Virginia. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Powers, Scott (February 16, 2018). "Val Demings pushes bill to seek gun restraining orders on people deemed dangerous". Florida Politics. Peter Schorsch. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  21. ^ Bennett, John T. (February 21, 2018). "Shooting Survivors, Victims' Families Tell Trump Emotional Stories". Roll Call. CQ Roll Call. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  22. ^ 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. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  23. ^ Yanes, Nadeen (February 16, 2018). "What have Florida's politicians done to change gun laws?". News 6. Orlando, Florida. Retrieved March 5, 2018.

External links[edit]

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

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Charlie Crist
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Neal Dunn