Focus on Congress

Democrats at the national level continue to showcase a freshman congresswoman from the Sunshine State.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., was selected to serve on Democrats’ new “Congressional Task Force on Election Security” which will “focus on how to bolster the security of election infrastructure ahead of the 2018 election” and “be a forum for members of Congress to hear from election infrastructure experts on both physical security and cybersecurity challenges and identify actions that should be taken to help ensure the integrity of our election systems and guard against future attacks.”

Demings is from Florida’s 10th congressional district. She served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. She was the Democratic nominee in both 2012 and 2016 to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, the latter of which Demings won. District 10 is inside of Orange County. It is situated in Central Florida, along the I-4 corridor including parts of Apopka, Orlando, Eatonville, Ocoee, Winter Garden and Windermere.

Rep. Val Demings

The new task force, which does not include a single member of the Republican majority, is led by U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, and U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, D-Penn., the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Administration Committee.

Despite not a single Republican serving on the task force, Demings insisted the new group was not partisan.

“The integrity of our democracy was compromised during the 2016 election like we have never seen before,” Demings said last week. “It is imperative that we take the proper action to prevent another attack like this and protect our nation’s election systems. This isn’t a partisan issue, it could happen to either side. If we do nothing, we risk another attack again.”

Demings’ new assignment is the latest effort from her party’s leadership to showcase the Orlando Democrat. With her background in law enforcement, including more than 25 years service with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), Demings has increasingly becoming a favorite of Democrats at the national level. From 2007 through 2011, when she retired, Demings served as chief of the OPD. Back in 2012, Demings offered U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., a surprisingly close race. After the latest round of congressional redistricting, the district became far more palatable for Democrats. Webster packed his bags to run for an open seat up north while, despite some respectable opposition in the primary, Demings ran over her rivals to win his old seat.

In her brief congressional career, Demings has been given some high profile assignments for a backbencher freshman in the minority party, including taking aim at the White House on immigration and health-care and focusing on national security issues. Back in January, Demings had a ceremonial swearing in ceremony in Orlando with some high profile Democrats in attendance. U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., swore Demings in and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer attended the event.

“It was important for me to be here in Orlando, to take the oath in front of the people who have been on this journey with me since the very beginning,” Demings said at that time, before throwing a jab at President Donald Trump.  “We know we are facing some difficult times in this nation, but I could not be more honored to represent Central Florida, and will always fight for the best interests of the people I serve.”

Demings’ could see her profile increase further if her husband wins higher office next year. Earlier this month, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings launched his bid for Orange County mayor.



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