Demings: Florida Power Couple Helps Memorialize PULSE Victims, Survivors

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-Florida) and her husband Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings showed support for PULSE survivors during the fifth anniversary ceremony Saturday, but that’s not their only display of support.

Along with colleagues U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto, Rep. Demings drafted a bill that successfully designated PULSE nightclub as a national memorial, permanently memorializing the 49 souls who lost their lives on that fateful Sunday morning five years ago. “It’s so important to the survivors and their families to have a place where they can come and reflect, and feel close to their loved ones,” said Rep. Demings, who is now running for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s seat in the 2022 election, of the memorial site in an FNN News interview Saturday. “I think good things can come from the ashes, and designating this as a national memorial…is a special way to remember those who were adversely and deeply affected by the tragedy that happened here.”

The Associated Press reports that President Joe Biden will sign the memorial bill into law in a matter of days. He said in a statement Saturday that he has “stayed in touch with families of the victims and with the survivors who have turned their pain into purpose” and called the club “hallowed ground.”

The Demingses are also known as the law and order couple, breaking barriers every step of the way in a city that has strived for diversity and inclusion for years. Mayor Demings broke ground as the first black police chief, and Rep. Demings followed, shattering the glass ceiling as Orlando’s first black female police chief. The former then crossed a new frontier as the first black Orange County Sheriff. Both entered new territory in 2018: Jerry Demings made history again as Orange County’s first black mayor and Val Demings was elected to Congress in 2018. Rep. Demings also captured national attention as a House Manager during former president Donald Trump’s first impeachment.

During Saturday’s ceremony, Mayor Demings mentioned that Orange County allocated $10 million to onePULSE Foundation towards the development of the memorial site. “Remember why we’re here. This was a terrorist attack on America, not just on Orlando,” Mayor Demings told FNN News in an interview Saturday. “And because of that, the federal government should have designated this as a national memorial site, and hopefully that means some kind of financial support that will go in perpetuity to support [it].”

Elected officials attending Saturday’s ceremony included U.S. Rep. and former Florida governor Charlie Crist (D-Florida)–who is currently running for his old gubernatorial seat, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto (D-Florida), Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, State Senator Linda Stewart (D-13), State Reps. Scott Plakon (D-29), Daisy Morales (D-48), Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-49), Anna Eskamani (D-47), Orange County Commissioners Mayra Uribe (District 3) and Maribel Gomez Cordero (District 4), Orange County School Board member Karen Castor Dentel, Orange County Sheriff John Mina, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Commissioners Robert Stuart and Patty Sheehan, among others. PULSE owner and onePULSE Foundation founder and CEO Barbara Palmer, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon and other special guests were also in attendance.

With Rep. Demings entering the US Senate race, colleague Rep. Stephanie Murphy pulled out of the running and will instead run for re-election in her Congressional district. Mayor Demings declared during a weekly coronavirus press briefing two weeks ago that he will certainly run for re-election.


Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News, part of the FNN News Network. |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *