ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – U.S. Representative Val Demings is a tough act to follow…or precede. Rep. Demings delivered her campaign speech at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Gala at the Orange County Convention Center Saturday.
The U.S. Senate candidate–a former Orlando Police Chief, two term Congresswoman, an impeachment manager for President Donald Trump’s first Senate trial and one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate–stepped on stage to Katy Perry’s “Roar,” energizing the Florida Democratic Party crowd which had been waiting on the sideline for a major rock star.
Rep. Demings opened her speech with a statement of intent paraphrased from special guest House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. “I want to make the greatness of America accessible and affordable for all Americans.”
Congresswoman Demings–the first lady of Orange County, Florida–had another reason to celebrate: December 4th, 2018 was the date in which her husband, then Sheriff Jerry Demings, was sworn in as the county’s first African American mayor.
Rep. Demings used her campaign speech to remind her party of its priorities. She hammered home the “kitchen table” issues: gas prices, health insurance for all, decent wages, and voting rights. She also affirmed the recently passed infrastructure law.
Politico reported last month on Rep. Val Demings constantly blasting Rubio for not being among the 12+ GOP senators who voted for the infrastructure bill. “There are 408 bridges and more than 3,564 miles of highway in poor condition across Florida,” she said on Twitter. “The Sunshine State is set to repair roads and bridges thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Marco Rubio voted against this. I voted for it.”
Am I Right About That?
Her speech had a refrain that commanded a response. After every talking point, she shouted, “Am I right about it?” or “Am I right about that?” which garnered a hearty “Yeah!” from the crowd every time.
“You are the only hope for our state and for our nation. Am I right about it?”
“The Democratic agenda includes people who have to go to work every day, making a wage that’s truly livable, am I right about that?”
“The Democratic agenda believes that every child, regardless of who they are, the color of their skin, where they live, how much money their parents have in the bank, and we should have access to a quality education, and pay teachers what they’re worth. Am I right about that?”
“The Democratic agenda believes that seniors, after they’ve worked hard all of their lives, deserve to be able to retire with dignity and respect. Am I right about that?”
“The Democratic agenda does not believe that you can lie, cheat and steal your way into office, but to believe in the Constitution, uphold the rule of law and protect our Democracy. Am I right about that?”
“The Democratic agenda believes in a woman’s right to choose. Am I right about that?”
“The Democratic agenda believes in the people’s right to vote. Am I right about that?”
“The Democratic agenda believes that people choose their representatives, and the representatives don’t choose…their voters. Am I right about that?”
Rep. Demings lit up the audience with a reminder that doubled as an exhortation. “We are not going back, we are not shutting up, we are not sitting down. We are going to fight, and fight, and fight some more!”
She closed saying, “With your help, come this time in 2022, I will be elected the next United States Senator from the great state of Florida.”
Prior to Rep. Demings’s speech was Commissioner Ken Russell, Vice Chair of the Miami City Commission, who is also running for Sen. Rubio’s seat. While he made several key points on what the Democrats should focus on, he was still too new for even the Democratic party to acknowledge as a serious contender–the audience barely listened to him. Rep. Demings is shaping up to be the champion to return the U.S. Senate seats to Florida Democrats.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. J Willie David, III contributed to this report. | firstname.lastname@example.org