Her appointment as a House Impeachment Manager increases her profile on the national stage at the beginning of the election cycle
By Reggie Connell/Managing Editor of The Apopka Voice
I try to steer clear of national politics, at least as it relates to The Apopka Voice. You will not see any crazy editorials in this publication speculating on President Obama’s citizenship or if President Trump is the worst leader ever or a gift from God.
I leave national politics to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Politico.
The Apopka Voice has always focused on local news, government, and politics. Names like Bankson, Becker, Kilsheimer, Land, and Nelson are far more important to us than Clinton, McConnell, Obama, Pelosi, or Trump.
However Congresswoman Val Demings is the occasional exception to that rule.
Demings represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Florida-10 encompasses all of Apopka. She is also well-known by local leaders and has occasional town hall meetings in Apopka. I feel an obligation to cover Demings on behalf of The Apopka Voice readers, and have published several of her news releases when they relate to Apopka, or Orange County. If the releases or statements are more political, or focused on national issues, I usually pass on publishing them, but when local news and national news occasionally merge, I feel obligated to report on it, and sometimes, though rarely, weigh-in.
Such was the case last weekend (January 4th), when I received this news release from Demings:
Rep. Demings Comments on Iran Strike
ORLANDO, FL – Today Rep. Val Demings (FL-10), a member of the Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees, issued the following statement on the president’s decision to kill Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani and to deploy additional U.S. service personnel to the Middle East.
Said Rep. Demings, “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.
“The first and most important question is ‘why now?’ What was the so-called ‘imminent threat’ that led us to strike in the first place? Recent reporting and the State Department’s struggle to justify the strike raise serious questions about whether this was a national security decision or a political one. Did we confer with our allies in the region? What is the Administration’s overall strategic plan since deliberately undermining the Iran Nuclear Deal? Someone once said, ‘our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust us.’ I pray neither is true.”
Take what you will from the statement, I know Demings has both supporters and detractors reading The Apopka Voice, but what caught my eye the most was her reference to former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden. Typically Demings will only quote co-authors of bills she is sponsoring in these news releases, so why reference a person who is not a colleague in Congress, and is also out of office?
It got me thinking about the reasoning… and the theory I came away with was that she is probably going to endorse Biden in his presidential campaign sometime before the Florida Presidential Preference Primary on March 17th, and this may have been a subtle action to begin the process.
I sent an email to Daniel Gleick, Demings’ press contact in Washington DC, who I have communicated with through email many times in the last three years, and asked him about the Biden quote:
“Statement from Representative Demings- ‘I am not prepared to make any statement about the 2020 presidential race at this time.’ -Wendy D. Anderson”
More recently there was a phone call between Biden to Demings in which he alerted her to his intention to run for president. Politico first wrote about it in May of 2019 in an article entitled “A dream ticket: Black lawmakers pitch Biden-Harris to beat Trump.”
Inside the article, Demings commented on a call she received from former VP Biden:
As vice president, Biden was frequently in touch with Congressional Black Caucus leaders and would host an annual dinner with the entire caucus at his house in observance of Black History Month. Biden has also taken steps to cultivate relationships with younger black lawmakers who came to Congress since (President)Trump has been in the White House, reaching out to them via phone calls and requesting in-person meetings.
“He called me before he made his announcement to fill me in. And I was honored that he would call me to let me know,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who has yet to endorse a candidate.
Okay, I get it. There isn’t a lot of evidence here, and the fact that Demings might endorse Biden certainly does not prove she may be on a shortlist of VP candidates, but considering he allegedly reached out to former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and is apparently courting California Senator Kamala Harris, Demings might fit the bill of a strong African American woman with a law enforcement history, who is from arguably the most important battleground state there is – Florida. And although her time in congress is short, she more than makes up for that with her life story. Here is just a sample of Demings’ bio from her congressional website: