Orlando’s former Chief of Police, Val Demings, today announced her candidacy for Florida’s 10th Congressional district.
Demings, 58, a Democrat, will again take on Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, whom she narrowly lost to (52 -48) in 2012. Webster was easily re-elected last year.
In announcing her Congressional bid, Demings issued the following statement:
“I love Florida, and my life has been committed to public service. 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. ”
Last year, Demings threw her hat in the ring for Orange County Mayor, but abruptly aborted her campaign in May. She reportedly said, her withdrawal from the race was tied to a medical issue which she has since overcome.
With the redrawing Florida’s Congressional districts, currently taking place, Demings could likely end up running in a vastly different district that will have far more African American voters now in District 5, represented by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville).
Demings, who spent 27 years at the Orlando Police Department and the last four years as Chief of Police, is married to Jerry Demings, Sheriff of Orange County.