Val Demings is the member of Congress who represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Rep. Val Demings is a public servant who began her career in the Orlando Police Department, rose through the ranks, and eventually won a seat in Congress, all while breaking a number of barriers along the way.
She is currently a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Intelligence Committee. She advanced her career as a law enforcer and broke another glass ceiling in 2020 when she became one of the first women and one of the first Black Americans to seek presidential impeachment before the United States Senate. She was also among the very first to do so.
Representative Val Demings grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where she and her six older siblings shared a two-bedroom house. Her mother, Elouise, worked as a housekeeper, and her father, James, worked as a janitor; both jobs required them to instill in their children a strong work ethic, as well as morals and a sense of obligation.
Representative Demings has worked since she was 14 years old. She was the first person in her family to earn a degree from a university; she worked hard, saved money, and benefited from her parents’ efforts and sacrifices. The teachings she received from her parents and the police dramas she watched as a child influenced the path she would eventually take in her professional life because they provided her with a solid understanding of the distinction between right and wrong. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and a Master of Science degree in Public Administration at Florida State University, where both of her parents received their degrees.
Rep. Demings began her professional career as a social worker in Jacksonville, where she was primarily responsible for the well-being of children in foster care. Representative Demings moved to Orlando in the early 1980s and began her career with the police department there. She persisted in the face of institutional opposition to women in law enforcement, and as a result, she was elected class president at the police academy, received the Board of Trustees’ Award for Overall Excellence, and established a reputation as an intelligent, tenacious, and no-nonsense officer.
She had a remarkable 27-year career with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), working in every sector and eventually rising to the position of Commander of the Special Operations Division. She was in charge of ensuring the smooth operation of high-profile events as well as the safety of important guests in Orlando.
Val Demings’ appointment as Orlando’s first female Chief of Police in 2007 made international headlines. She was the first woman in the world to hold that position.
As soon as Chief Demings took office, she launched an unwavering campaign to reduce violent crime and strengthen community ties. Because of Chief Demings and her hardworking police team, the rate of violent crime on Oahu has dropped by more than 40%.
Chief Demings transformed the phrase “protect and serve” into more than just a meaningless slogan by making the local community an official partner of the Orlando Police Department in some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. She was the driving force behind groundbreaking programs like Operation Positive Direction, a mentorship program that provides at-risk children with one-on-one teaching, community service, and encouragement to improve their chances of success. In addition, she launched “Operation Free Palms,” with the goal of rehabilitating the Palms Apartments, which are regarded as Orlando’s most chaotic and violent neighborhood. The Orlando Police Department relied on innovative techniques to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. These strategies included expanding access to child care facilities, creating playgrounds, instituting a general equivalency diploma program, and providing job skills training.
Rep. Demings is the adoring grandmother of five grandchildren, as well as the proud mother of three sons. She is married to Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County.
Rep. Demings has received honorary degrees from a number of educational institutions, including Bethune-Cookman University, where she earned a juris doctorate, and Florida Technical College in Fort Lauderdale, where she received an award similar to this one.
St. Mark A.M.E., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Links, the NAACP, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Florida Bar Citizens Advisory Committee, the Florida Police Chiefs, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, and the National Congress of Black Wives are among the organizations that Rep. Demings belongs to.
Representative Demings makes the most of her limited free time by taking long rides on her Harley-Davidson Road King Classic. She completed the O.U.C. marathon as well as the Walt Disney World Marathon.
Representative Demings serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, the House Judiciary Committee’s Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness; Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support). She chairs the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery for Homeland Security.
Demings belongs to a number of caucuses in the House of Representatives. As an active participant, she oversees the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Review Board and the Elections Security Taskforce. Congresswoman Demings has previously served as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime Prevention, Vice Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Candidate Recruitment Committee, and Assistant and Regional Whip for the House Democratic Caucus.
Val Demings is vying for a seat in the United States Senate in Florida right now, and if she wins, she will have the opportunity to make history. In the history of the United States Senate, there have only been a very small number of black women. It is possible that Demings will make history by becoming the first black woman to represent Florida in the United States Senate if she prevails in this race. Not only would this be a significant victory for Demings, but it would also be a victory for black women all over the country. It would demonstrate that we are capable of succeeding in any industry, even one that has traditionally been dominated by men like the Senate in the United States.