(Orlando, FL) – Today, Val Demings announced her candidacy for Florida’s 10th Congressional district. As Orlando’s former Chief of Police and long-time community leader, Val Demings has a proven record of building consensus and getting results. Bolstered by her success as one of the most effective police chiefs in Florida’s history, Demings will bring effective leadership to Congress with a focus on solving real issues with direct community involvement.
Demings’ timing couldn’t be better. A Democrat, she will face off against Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, to whom she narrowly lost in 2012 by a margin of 52%- 48%. It was an impressive showing for her first foray into elective politics. Political observers say this time will be different. The redrawing of the state’s redistricting map, mandated by the Florida Supreme Court because the current one improperly favored Republicans, will likely leave the two candidates running in a district with far more African American voters.
“I love Florida, and my life has been committed to public service,” Demings said in a prepared statement. “I grew up in Jacksonville and watched both of my parents work low paying jobs as a maid and janitor to provide for me and my six siblings. My parents sacrificed dearly so that we would have a chance at the American dream.
“The shot at the American dream that my parents worked hard to provide for their children is getting slimmer especially for people who grew up like me. The current leadership in Washington and Congressman Dan Webster are failing to provide the opportunities and support to working families in Florida and across the country.
“I hear from people everywhere, who are struggling to make ends meet, who fear injustice in the criminal justice system, and who want to be able to afford college for their kids. They want someone who won’t shy away from addressing these issues head on. Just as I took on crime in Orlando by straight talk and bringing people together, I will work to move our state and country forward in Congress. ”
Demings has led a life of public service. She worked as a social worker after graduating from Florida State University and spent 27 years in law enforcement with the Orlando Police Department, where she became the city’s first black female Chief. She is married to Jerry Demings, who is also a career law enforcement officer, and the Sheriff of Orange County.
Demings entered the race for Orange County Mayor last year, but was forced to withdraw for medical reasons.