Former police Chief Val Demings said today she’s running for Orange County mayor to bolster public safety and schools, and to ensure that all citizens and small businesses have a voice.
“I see an Orange County that looks like you, an Orange County that looks like me,” Demings told a campaign kick-off rally of about 200, who turned out in a thin rain. “I’m talking about leadership that’s about public service, and not just about lip service.”
Demings wants to unseat first-term Mayor Teresa Jacobs this fall, and used much of a short, nine-minute speech to reach out to firefighters, corrections officers, police and teachers’ unions. These are groups she’s counting on to help overcome Jacobs’ nearly half million dollar head start in fundraising.
To them, Demings said she would not “ignore public safety.” And though the mayor’s office has little direct sway on education issues, Demings said she wants to “boldly stand up” and ensure classrooms get more resources.
Demings recounted a life story she shared often in 2012 while running for Congress against now-U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden. She described how her maid mother and janitor father instilled a strong work ethic that led to her becoming Orlando’s first female police chief.