Val Demings: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Getty Val Demings

After the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump, the trial now moves to the Senate, where a final judgment on the President will be made. When the trial begins on Tuesday, the appointed House Impeachment Managers will present their case to Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently announced the seven impeachment managers that will take lead for the Democrats. Led by House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff (Calif.), Demings, 62, a retired law enforcement officer who was once elected as Orlando’s first-ever female police chief and is serving her second term in Congress, will be joined by Rep. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), Rep. Jason Crow (Colo.), Rep. Sylvia Garcia (Texas), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.).

Demings said in a statement, “I am honored to have the opportunity to help defend our republic in this incredible moment in history. I hope that every American who believes in democracy will take a stand.”

“The president has been given an incredible responsibility and opportunity to serve the American people,” Demings continued. “Instead, he has abandoned his oath of office and the Constitution, choosing to put his interest before the national interest. The evidence against the president is overwhelming. The president abused his office to try to cheat in the 2020 election, and then covered it up. He shall be held accountable.”

Here’s what you need to know about Val Demings:

1. Born Valdez Benita Butler, Demings Grew Up In A Poor Neighborhood With 7 Older Siblings

Val Demings

Born on March 12, 1957, Demings was one of seven siblings growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, according to her bio. While her family was poor, her mother Eloise worked as a maid, and father, James, a janitor. While attending Wolfson High School, Demings was a big fan of watching police procedurals on TV, and after being accepted to Florida State University, she graduated with a degree in Criminology in 1979.

Demings spent a year and a half working as a social worker in Jacksonville before applying for a job with the Orlando Police Department in 1983. Twelve years later, while still working as a patrol officer, Demings returned to school to earn her Master’s degree in Public Administrations at Webster University Orlando. She now holds also holds an honorary doctorate of laws from Bethune-Cookman University.

2. Demings Has Been Married To Husband Mayor Jerry Demings Since 1988

Jerry Demings

Jerry Demings, 60, also spent a huge part of his career working in law enforcement. In 2008, he was elected as the first-ever African American Orange County Sheriff, and together they live in Orlando. The couple first met while they were students at FSU, at least according to Jerry. For Demings, she recalled to the Orland Sentinal in 2016 that she first met the man who would become her husband during an investigation in 1984. She was a first-year officer and Jerry, already detective.

Demings said, “I married the only one I dated,” as the two quickly bonded over their similar upbringing and their mutual goal of protecting the community.

“When she walked away, I said, ‘That’s a rookie asking the senior people why we’re doing something?’ I was thinking she’s pretty sure of herself,” said Jerry, who grew up in Orlando and is the youngest of five siblings.

Jerry also serves on the executive board of the Central Florida Boy Scouts of America and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida. In 2018, Jerry was elected as the Mayor of Orange County, the first African American to serve this role in its 173-year history.

3. Demings Became The First-Ever Woman Chief To Lead The Orlando Police Department

Demings, who had worked for the OPD since 1983, was appointed as Chief in December 2007. However, a mere four years later she retired from the position, even though she had the full support of Mayor Buddy Dyer and was credited for dramatically reducing crime and removing guns from the streets during her tenure as Chief.

Mayor Dyer told the Orlando Sentinel in 2011, “Chief Demings’ appointment was historic, as the first woman to serve as police chief, and as an African American…. But neither of those came into play. It was because of her abilities and what she had shown in her 20-some odd years on the OPD, and it was borne out with distinction over the last three years.”

When the Orlando Sentinel asked what she would do next, Demings remained coy. “I really don’t know,” Demings said. “But what I can tell you is that I’m a public servant. So whatever my next venture is, I will remain in public service because it’s not just what I do, it’s who I am.” A year later, her first campaign to represent Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives began.

4. Demings Has Represented the 10th Congressional District Since 2017

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.)

After joining the 116th Congress, Demings has served on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She is also a member of numerous caucuses, including the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Pro-Choice Caucus and Cybersecurity Caucus. Demings is also the Vice-Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

When Demings first ran as the for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, she narrowly lost to freshman Republican Daniel Webster. But after winning the seat in 2016 with an impressive 65 percent of the votes, becoming the third Democrat ever to win this seat in Orlando, she has proven to be a powerful democratic voice, and outspoken in her disdain for President Trump. She won unopposed for her second term in 2018.

On January 4, in a statement after Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani was killed, Demings said, “During the impeachment debate I said that habitual offenders never sneak up on you. They telegraph their intentions time and time again. I have to wonder about President Trump’s previous tweet that ‘in order to get re-elected, President Obama will start a war with Iran.’ Habitual offenders telegraph their intentions.”

“This reckless and destabilizing strike puts Americans and our allies at risk. While I share former Vice President Biden’s belief that no Americans will mourn Soleimani’s passing, America needs real answers and verifiable justifications before we deploy our sons and daughters.”

5. Demings Has Three Children & Five Grandchildren

When Demings is not working, she enjoys spending time riding motorcycles with her husband and competing in marathons, her official bio says. She also loves spending time with her family, which includes the three grown boys and five grandchildren.

Demings and Jerry have two twin sons, both 38, and another boy, 28, and they all live in Orlando.

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