Q&A with Rep. Val Demings (FL-10)

“Sometimes we doubt ourselves so much and compare ourselves to others’ expectations. I would tell my younger self to have a little more faith.”

Off The Sidelines
3 min readMay 13, 2020


Off The Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Val Demings: When growing up, my mother always told me “never grow tired of doing good.” As a 27- year law enforcement officer, I worked my way up through every barrier to become the first female Chief of Police of the Orlando Police Department. We engaged the community to make sure that they received what they wanted from their police department. We were able to reduce crime by 40%. I decided to run for office because I wanted to continue doing good for our community. I’ve seen firsthand the need to reform our criminal justice system, promote gun ownership responsibility to reduce mass shootings, and allow future generations to continue breaking barriers.

OTS: Tell us about where you’re running and what your district is like.

VD: I have represented Florida’s 10th Congressional district since January 2017. The district encompasses West Orange County, which includes the Orlando Metropolitan area. The district includes Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios Orlando, and Orlando International Airport.

OTS: Whose support or encouragement are you most grateful for?

VD: My mother. She always told me, “never grow tired of doing good” and believed that I could break barriers.

OTS: What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

VD: I would tell my younger self to “believe it...long before you can see it.” Sometimes we doubt ourselves so much and compare ourselves to others’ expectations. I would tell my younger self to have a little more faith.

OTS: What issue do you believe deserves more attention on the campaign trail?

VD: Gun violence deserves the most attention. It is sad that these mass shootings are becoming more commonplace in our communities. I am a strong advocate of the second amendment but I am also a strong supporter of gun ownership responsibility. Reducing and preventing gun violence is a public safety issue, not a political one.

OTS: What’s an interesting book/article you’re reading now or you’ve recently finished? And why?

VD: Pastor Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” The opening line says, “It’s not about you”. The book discusses the need to help others and that when you focus on making the world better, you will reach your greatest self.

OTS: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

VD: I own and ride a Harley Davidson Road King Classic.

OTS: If you could have dinner with three people (living or deceased) who would they be and why?


Michelle Obama: I admire her willingness to serve and the impact she has made on the community.

Sen. Bobby Kennedy: I admire the work that he has done on human rights across the world.

Dr. Martin Luther King JR. I admire Dr. King’s leadership and organization that he created to bring change.

OTS: How do you de-stress/unwind?

VD: Biking, running, and listening to gospel/jazz music.



Off The Sidelines

Off The Sidelines is @SenGillibrand’s movement to help women run for office—and win.