‘He goes into very scripted environments’: Val Demings argues Marco Rubio ‘not comfortable’ talking with diverse communities
Val Demings and Marco Rubio get into a Mexican fruit fight.

demings rubio
‘As a Police Chief, I didn’t just go into communities and talk to people who looked like me or share the same agenda as me.'

On the heels of new polling numbers showing her closer than ever to overtaking Republican incumbent Marco Rubio in the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings plans to put the pedal to the metal — literally and figuratively — to close the distance before Election Day.

Demings, who served as Orlando’s first female Police Chief, said she will apply an outreach policy she established in that role and meet with many different compositions of communities throughout Florida.

That, she argued, is something her opponent is uneasy doing.

“He goes into very scripted environments,” she said. “I guess that has worked for him, but that’s not who I am. I will continue to travel the state from the Panhandle down to the Keys, and at the end of the day, I really do believe I will have the votes I need to be the one who runs through the tape.”

She continued, “I’m doing something Sen. Rubio is not comfortable doing. I’m traveling the state, talking to all voters about things that matter to them. I’m doing what I did as a Police Chief. I didn’t just go into communities and talk to people who looked like me or share the same agenda as me. I’m talking to all voters about things that matter, like affordable housing, the cost of prescription drugs, the cost of insulin, low wages and better health care. Marco Rubio picks winners and losers based on their ability to pay to play.”

Demings comments came during the Thursday launch of a bus tour by Giffords Florida at Regatta Park in Coconut Grove. The tour will travel through Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Orlando through Sept. 13.

She participated in several stops throughout Miami that day but said her campaign schedule precluded her from being able to attend the larger tour.

At the launch, Demings spoke alongside several other Democratic politicians, including U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Miami state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is running to supplant Republican Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar, and former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, now the senior adviser to Giffords.

Giffords Executive Director Peter Ambler, community activist Memé Ferré and gun safety activist Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jamie Guttenberg, was killed in the 2018 Parkland shooting, also spoke.

Rubio and Salazar — and their record on gun legislation — were frequent targets for their opposition to Democratic measures. That included Rubio’s “no” vote in June on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Joe Biden ultimately signed into law.

Asked for comment, his communications director, Elizabeth Gregory, noted Rubio’s support of the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 that improved school protections against attacks.

“In the aftermath of Parkland, Sen. Rubio sat down with Republicans, Democrats, students, parents, law enforcement and others to find common ground. While they didn’t agree on everything, they were able to make significant progress, including with the STOP School Violence Act,” she wrote, adding that Rubio is also backing the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act, which would boost red flag laws, and the Luke and Alex School Safety Act.

Gregory did not respond to a question about a new AARP Florida-commissioned survey showing Demings within 3 percentage points of overtaking Rubio, whom pollsters found to be under the critical 50% mark with Florida voters.

Rubio and Demings have repeatedly labeled each other as an “extremist,” on the issue of abortion. But when it comes to crime, Rubio’s efforts to malign his opponent have failed, with fact-checking site PolitiFact ranking one ad his campaign aired suggesting Demings “called abolishing the police ‘thoughtful’” a lie.

In an ad touting her 27-year career in law enforcement, Demings called any suggestion to defund the police “crazy.”

“I’m a law enforcement officer, and I know Marco Rubio wishes I wouldn’t talk about that, but I had that job longer than any job in my life, and I’m very proud of my record,” she said Thursday.

“The bottom line is, and I think we forget this, every community wants to be safe — Black communities, Brown communities, White communities, rural areas, inner cities. And it’s interesting. As I talk to people who live in some of the most crime-ridden areas, they say they don’t want to defund the police. They want to see more police because they believe if we start cutting police budgets, then they become even more vulnerable, and they just want to be treated with dignity and respect, right?

“So, I’m appealing to all voters regardless of their politics. The tie that binds is safer communities, and that’s what we’re working for.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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  • Impeach Biden

    September 8, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Here it comes. Val gonna play that race card. I guess she has to because when her pro Pelosi voting record in Congress comes out that will hurt her here in Florida. She will also have to defend the Biden administration’s policies. That’s going to be a tough sell as well.

    • Val Demings

      September 8, 2022 at 6:39 pm

      Boobio is a neo nazi robot. Vote for me. I’ll send his fascist Cuban ass back on a reverse banana boat. And you…you gonna get a spanking honey. Mmm hmm..it be for your own gat damn good.

    • Mr. Haney

      September 9, 2022 at 6:14 am

      Idiots like you can only guess because like Rubio you don’t have a clue.

      Let us know when Rubio has a policy on anything.

  • PeterH

    September 8, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    Republicans have a hard time going on CNN, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post or New York Times because they can’t offer honest responses to difficult questions.

    If Americans want women to control their own bodies, qualified teachers to replace DeSantis’s culture wars in classrooms, intelligent teacher-student conversations concerning the social issues facing Americans in the 21st century, non-bullying discussion about classroom students who are different, common sense gun regulations, and a new honest approach on how best to address climate change……



    • Impeach Biden

      September 8, 2022 at 6:53 pm

      Haven’t seen the Squad, Warren, Pelosi, Hirono, Nadler, Newsom, Pritzker, etc. Shall I go on? Haven’t seen any of these and other Democrats on FOX.

      • Mr. T

        September 8, 2022 at 7:07 pm

        You come out them woods you gonna get yo head busted for talking all that mess cracker

      • James Madison

        September 9, 2022 at 1:05 am

        I guarantee you they were NOT invited. If you research, every Democrat that was invited to appear on Fox accepted. So far every Republican invited to appear on CNN and MSNBC refused. Fair and balanced….yea right. LOL

      • Mr. Haney

        September 9, 2022 at 6:15 am

        Only idiots watch Fox propaganda.

        • Impeach Biden

          September 9, 2022 at 7:29 am

          What would you call CNN, MSNBC, The View, etc. etc?

      • marylou

        September 10, 2022 at 5:36 pm

        “Fox News Sunday” 9AM always has at least one Dem.

  • Fat Cammack

    September 8, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Forget about Demings and Rubio. You just remember to vote for me. A conservative with true grits, bacon, a gallon of milk, pancakes, and biscuits with about two quarts of gravy… little powdered sugar on top of it all baby doll.💋

  • Brandon

    September 9, 2022 at 8:55 am

    As Police Chief, please explain in detail why you were careless in leaving a firearm in your vehicle or was it something else? You sure as hell did not follow SOP.

  • Todd

    September 11, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    If people have the right to choose to control their own reproduction, why don’t they choose sterilization? If people don’t love their children, why create them?

    If you don’t want to be a parent, fine. Just pay a doctor to perform a vasectomy or a tubal ligation. Why create life only to destroy it?

    It’s a serious thing we do when we create life. Sex should not be casual and irresponsible. There are consequences and we need to be strong to make tough, moral choices.

    Ultimately, we need to draw the line between our own value and the value of greater Humanity. Sometime, when we are old, we may stop and look in the mirror and realize that individualism is flawed and we have a greater responsibility to life, Humanity and the Earth.

  • Todd

    September 11, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    As a gun owner, I hope I never have to shoot anyone. I wouldn’t want to kill another person simply because she is Black, or poor, or hungry or suffering from a disease, mental or otherwise.

    I have thought that maybe it would have been cheaper if I were to given a few more dollars to charities than to buy another box of ammo. I know that I have benefited from advantages of being White and middle class. I realize that the world is not fair.

    But the World doesn’t need to be harsh and mean either. Being strong doesn’t mean being heartless or cruel. stupid or so angry that all I want is to blame everyone for my troubles.

    Being strong doesn’t mean I accept every single person that wants to come to America freely. There has to be limits on immigration.

    But being strong does mean that I realize that America had a role in supporting Right-wing, anti-communist actors in various Latin American or Middle East countries. Lest we forget the lessons of 1905 Cuba, or 1980 Iraq, or 1953 Iran, America seems to choose harsh dictators in far-away places. Then we see the effect these people have on the local populations. It’s no wonder so many from extremist led countries want to leave and come here. Or so many hate America. We create our foreign enemies, as well as our own monsters.

    To quote the ever-popular euphemism, “We reap, what we sow.”.

    So, violence doesn’t save us. We can’t kill our way to a better world. History has shown we certainly have tried and tried and tried. And failed.

    There are so many, many conflicts, so many dead people and failed states, and famines and plagues and blights upon us all. Do we want to create more? Why is it so hard to accept each other in common Humanity and cooperate and build a safer, kinder, healthier life? Is that such a bad thing to want?

    Maybe we could spend some time understanding how the Middle East or Latin America got into such a mess? A little history reading wouldn’t be a bad thing to do before we jump to the rhetoric du-jour populist or anarchist views being promulgated recklessly.

  • Todd

    September 11, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    Is the World ours to own or ours to protect? Are we on some sense, small or large our brother’s keeper? Is not our brother’s garden less loved by him than our own to us? I hope all you that are spiritual people, on some sort of religious inclination, stop and ask if Religion has not somehow failed us?

    Is Religion just another part of Culture? Why would my views be any more important than yours? So why use these differences to create competition and hatred?

    Wouldn’t it be better to find singular, shared value common in all religions and profess that cooperatively without judgement or strife?

    A single common thread in all teachings is that there is a soul. Also, in all teachings a commonly value is that all life is sacred. So why not simplify these and adopt the simplest common shared belief regardless of our own cultural roots? And a singular common rule could simply be, “Don’t kill.’

    So, if all life is sacred, and we all value the human soul, why not believe in our shared soul that is common to all life and even central to the core of life on this planet?

    Then it would be hard, perhaps even central to our own destruction, to value one’s own singular life more than that of any other living thing on Earth.

    It’s such a paradox that life is so short, and yet so eternal. Perhaps we need to stop measuring value in our own singular terms? I like you all, will be dead soon enough. So why fight and hate? Why to use the Biblical terminology, “do the Devil’s work”? But it’s actually not unique to the Bible alone.

    God is within us all. So is the Beast. You can choose either course. But you can’t choose both.

  • Todd

    September 11, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    Finally, last one. Hate will defeat us. Hate is the spawn of Shame. And Shame is the root of our own suffering. We are told that we don’t deserve to be loved, deserve to even live. But we do deserve these.

    I love Val and I love Marco equally and freely. I believe whoever ultimately wins and comes to represent us here in Florida, that we all should support our next elected Senator.

    We can choose to cooperate and find common value and trust and make our elected representatives jobs a little easier. 90% of our problems are of our own creation. We can choose to create a better world or to destroy it. But we can’t dump that responsibility on our elected officials and expect them to do it all.

Comments are closed.


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