Val Demings

Val Demings
Member-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 10th district
Taking office
January 3, 2017
Succeeding Daniel Webster
Personal details
Born Valdez Venita Butler
(1957-03-12) March 12, 1957
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jerry Demings
Children three
Alma mater Florida State University
Occupation Police officer

Valdez Venita "Val" Demings (née Butler; March 12, 1957) is an American police officer and politician. She served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. She was the Democratic nominee in 2012 to represent Florida's 10th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, and is the Democratic nominee for the seat in 2016. The Associated Press has called the race for Demings. [1]

Early life

Valdez Venita Butler was born on March 12, 1957,[2] 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.[3]

Her desire for a career in law enforcement came when Demings served in the "school patrol" at Dupont Junior High School. She graduated from Samuel W. Wolfson High School, and then attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.[3]


After graduating from college, Demings worked as a social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months.[3][4] 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.[3]

Demings was appointed as Chief of the OPD in December 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.[5] 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.[6]

Political career

Demings was the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 10th congressional district in the 2012 elections.[7] Her attempt to unseat the incumbent, Republican Daniel Webster, was unsuccessful.[8]

Democrats attempted to recruit Demings to run against Webster again in 2014.[9] After considering her options, she decided to run for Mayor of Orange County, Florida, against Teresa Jacobs, instead.[10] Demings dropped out of the mayoral race on May 20, 2014.[11]

Demings ran for10th district after a court-ordered redistricting made the 10th significantly more Democratic ahead of the 2016 elections.[12] She won the Democratic Party nomination on August 30,[13] and won the general election with 65% of the vote.[14]


Her husband, Jerry Demings, is the Orange County Sheriff.[6] Previously, he served as the Chief of the OPD, the first African American to do so, from 1999 through 2002.[3][4] The two met while on patrol in the OPD; they married in 1988 and have three children.[3]


  1. "Florida U.S. House 10th District Results: Val Demings Wins". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Val Demings takes over as Orlando's police chief Monday". December 16, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Married cops to head next-door agencies – US news – Life | NBC News". MSNBC. January 25, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  4. "Val Demings' retirement opinion: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. May 5, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  5. 1 2 Schlueb, Mark (May 3, 2011). "Orlando Police Chief Val Demings retiring: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  6. Green, Merissa (October 1, 2012). "Rep. Daniel Webster Challenged By Val Demings, Ex-Chief of Police". The Ledger. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  7. Schlueb, Mark (November 6, 2012). "Dan Webster beats Val Demings, wins second term". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  8. Damron, David (October 7, 2013). "Demings still undecided on next political move". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  9. Powers, Scott (January 7, 2014). "Val Demings takes on Teresa Jacobs for Orange County Mayor". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  10. "Val Demings drops out of Orange County mayoral race". Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  11. Powers, Scott (August 17, 2015). "Val Demings to run for Congress". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  12. "Val Demings wins Democratic primary for US House District 10: Former Orlando police chief to face off against Thuy Lowe in November". August 30, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  13. Comas, Martin E. (November 8, 2016). "Political newcomer Murphy pulls stunner, unseats Mica; Demings defeats Lowe". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
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