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Representative Val Demings (D-Fla.) is running for U.S. Senate. The first Black woman police chief in Orlando, Florida, Rep. Demings will go up against Senator Marco Rubio, a career politician who has aligned himself with the current Trumpian version of the GOP.

Though unknown to some, Rep. Demings is a trailblazer who made President Joe Biden’s shortlist of possible running mates before Kamala Harris earned the spot. Rep. Demings was the only non-lawyer to sit on former President Trump’s first impeachment committee, and voted to impeach the former White House occupant for obstruction of justice among other crimes. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Demings did not come to the decision to run against Senator Rubio lightly. She considered a run for governor first, but currently leaves the spot open while she and other national Democrats put the heat on the GOP during the midterm elections next year. 

Humble beginnings

It’s a decision that many other politicians welcome. “I would’ve supported her running for governor, but this is the right fit for her and for us,” said Alex Sink, a former Florida chief financial officer who ran for office in 2010. Continued Ms. Sink, “She’s going to draw a contrast between who she is and how she represents Florida vs. Marco Rubio, who a lot of people where I live never see him.”

While Rep. Demings started from humble beginnings, she has a long history of public service. A former social worker, she later turned her attention to law enforcement, where she focused on building connections within the Orlando community. She rose in prominence to become the first Black woman chief of police in Orlando. As a member of the House of Representatives, she sits on several committees, including as chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

As she builds momentum for her campaign, Representative Demings also leans on her roots, noting in a 2019 speech, “I come before you tonight as a descendent of slaves. Slaves who knew they would not make it, but dreamed and prayed that one day, that I would make it. I come before you tonight proclaiming that in spite of America’s complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution.”

To learn more about Rep. Demings and her campaign, visit her website

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...