Florida has been a heartbreak for Democrats ever since the “loss” in 2000, but if there was ever a candidate who could win statewide, it is the indomitable Val Demings.
Since being elected to the U.S. Congress In 2016, Val Demings swiftly gained a reputation as a tireless champion for public safety, civil rights, and the American Dream. She gained widespread acclaim for her conduct as a deliberative and justice-focused impeachment manager during the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Sen. Marco Rubio is considered somewhat vulnerable. Earlier this year, a Mason-Dixon poll showed 47% of Florida voters approved of Rubio’s job performance and 42% disapproved. In February, Demings polled within five points of Rubio at 47% for Rubio to 42% for Demings. The race is rated Lean R by Cook.
Val Demings was raised in a small wood-framed house in Jacksonville. Her mother, Elouise Butler, worked as a maid; her father, James, as a janitor, landscaper, and orange picker – as many jobs as it took to get by.
Her first job, at age 14, was as a dishwasher. Working hard in school, she became the first in her family to go to college, working at a fast food restaurant to pay her way. Demmings became a social worker, protecting children in broken homes. Dismayed at a system that was leaving too many families behind, she signed up to become a police officer – an officer with a social worker’s heart.
It was a tough path and tougher still in the 80s for a woman and Black American in a profession that had few of either. She graduated from the police academy with citations for excellence and quickly earned a reputation as a bold, creative cop willing to take on conventional thinking and the toughest parts of the city. She served 27 years, and at every rank level in the department. She commanded the Special Operations division and handled the department’s highest-profile tasks. She coordinated the response of the Airport Division on 9/11. And in 2007, she made history when she was appointed to serve as the city’s first female Chief of Police. The financial crisis was squeezing budgets. But by taking the tough fights head-on, she did more with less, kept officers on the street, and crushed violent crime, reducing it by 40%.
In Congress, she serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.
ON THE ISSUES
Rep. Demings believes that “we must work relentlessly to preserve our right to choose and our right to privacy. We must protect Roe v. Wade in federal law. We cannot go back to a time when women were treated as second-class citizens who don’t have control over our own bodies.”
She helped to introduce and pass through the House the Women’s Health Protection Act which would codify Roe v. Wade in federal law.
As a former law enforcement officer, Demings understands that the proliferation of guns on our streets endangers the work of law enforcement officers as well as ordinary citizens. She has backed universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and introduced the Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2021 to regulate armor-piercing handguns under the National Firearms Act.
Rep. Val Demings takes threats to our environment seriously because they are threats to Floridans’ jobs and way of life. That’s why she opposes offshore drilling off Florida’s coasts, and why she has delivered funding to combat the toxic algae that impacts Florida shores and waterways. Demings knows the threat of climate change is real, and that’s why she supported the bipartisan infrastructure bill which will fund billions of dollars of climate change-resistant infrastructure in Florida and create thousands of new jobs.