Jerry Demings prepared to take 'measured risks' as Orange County mayor

Chief executive wants diverse economy, managed growth

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Since first scoring a landslide victory in August, Mayor-elect Jerry Demings said he has developed a
plan to take Orange County’s economy to “the next level” with an emphasis on managed growth.

On Tuesday, the 59-year-old veteran Orlando police chief and Orange County sheriff will the first African-American to be sworn in as chief executive of Orange County and begin his quest for a diverse economy.

“In order for the county to achieve it’s true potential,” Demings said, “we’re going to take some measured risks.”

Those risks will start to play out in his first 100 days in office, guided by a 65-page document -- a roadmap -- prepared by a volunteer transition task force led by former Mayor Linda Chapin.

“They really exceeded my expectations," Demings told News 6. "What you’re going to see in my administration is a lot of public-private partnerships, (the P3’s), to solve the myriad of  issues we face as a community.”

Demings told News 6 that affordable housing, better jobs and higher wages are at the top of his agenda as mayor.

“We have to work with the private sector in that regard," he said. “But the public sector can help lead the way as well.”

Demings said he will work to stabilize the cost of housing by getting developers and contractors to develop a more efficient permitting system.

The mayor-elect said he recently  met with leaders in higher education and some of the trades unions to develop a plan to better prepare the county’s future work force in terms “of the skill sets” they will need.

“Not everybody is going to go to college," Demings said. "If we can introduce high school students earlier into the process ... it will pay dividends for us well into the future.”

Demings said his message to county residents Tuesday will be one of thanks for their support and trust.

“I want to make sure that this is the community where no person gets left behind," Demings said. ”Where everyone has the opportunity to succeed if they want to work for it.”

When asked how his administration will fare after the first 100 days Demings seemed confident with an eye on setting a new standard.

“My job is to think big picture in terms of leading this community and creating economic opportunities,” he said. “We’re going to take this county to the next level, we will become the environmental prototype community of tomorrow.”

The oath of office ceremony will be held for Demings at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the North Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center.

In addition, the swearing-in ceremony will take place for Orange County District 2 Commissioner-elect Christine Moore, Orange County District 3 Commissioner-elect Mayra Uribe and Orange County District 4 Commissioner-elect Maribel Gomez Cordero. Orange County District 6 Commissioner Victoria P. Siplin will be sworn in for her second term.

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