|Intro||American politician from Florida|
|Is||Politician Police officer Social worker|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||12 March 1957, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida, USA|
Valdez Venita Demings (née Butler; born March 12, 1957) is an American politician and retired law enforcement officer who serves as the United States Representative from Florida's 10th congressional district, serving since 2017. 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. On January 15, 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected Demings to serve as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of President Donald J. Trump.
Valdez Venita Butler was born on March 12, 1957, 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.
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. She continued her education at Webster University Orlando, earning a master’s degree in public administration in 1996.
After graduating from college, Demings worked as a social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months. 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.
Demings was appointed as chief of the OPD in December 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department. 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.
Demings was the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 10th congressional district in the 2012 elections. 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.
Democrats attempted to recruit Demings to run against Webster again in 2014. After considering her options, she decided to run for Mayor of Orange County, Florida, against Teresa Jacobs, instead. Demings dropped out of the mayoral race on May 20, 2014.
Demings ran again for the 10th district seat after a court-ordered redistricting made the 10th significantly more Democratic ahead of the 2016 elections. She won the Democratic Party nomination on August 30, and won the general election with 65% of the vote. 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.
In May 2020, Demings was reportedly being considered for the position of Joe Biden's running mate in his 2020 presidential campaign.
U.S. House of Representatives
Demings was sworn in on January 3, 2017. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Black Caucus.
On December 18, 2019, Demings voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Demings was selected as one of seven impeachment managers who presented the impeachment case against Trump during his trial before the United States Senate.
- Committee on Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations (Vice Chair)
- Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law
- Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support
- Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness
- New Democrat Coalition
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." She 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." 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" 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."
Demings has an "F" rating from the NRA, which they award to those they deem a "true enemy of gun owners' rights". She has accused the NRA of "hijacking" conversations after mass shootings to make them about the Second Amendment.
Her husband, Jerry Demings, is the former Orange County Sheriff and current mayor of Orange County, Florida. He served as the Chief of the OPD, the first African American to do so, from 1999 to 2002. The two met while on patrol in the OPD; they married in 1988 and have three children.