Sheriff Jerry Demings to focus on public safety, growth in run for mayor

Demings will not step down as sheriff while campaigning

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings officially announced Friday that he is running for Orange County mayor in the 2018 race.

Demings held a news conference at the Orange County Administration Building during which he thanked attendees, including his wife, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, for their support before discussing his 36 years of public service experience and highlighting his goals for the office.

“I am prepared to make a sacrifice to continue making a difference in the lives of all people in the community in which I was born and raised, I am simply seeking to do so at another level,” Demings said.

Demings said his campaign will focus on public safety, smart growth and green initiatives.

Specifically, he mentioned making sure first responders receive a fair wage and proper training, reducing crime rates, expanding local businesses and bringing new businesses to the area, streamlining the construction and permitting process, revitalizing areas suffering from urban blight, reducing traffic congestion and bringing more renewable energy sources to the area.

“Orange County is a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors and represents people of different backgrounds from around the world. We should celebrate and embrace that diversity and use that to strengthen commerce,” Demings said. 

He also plans to focus on day-to-day issues for the citizens of Orange County, such as homelessness and the treatment of those who suffer from mental health and substance abuse problems.

"We love this community and believe that if we can make it a better palace for my 95-year-old parents down to my 2-year-old granddaughter, we can make it a better place for you and your family," Demings said. 

Term limits will prevent current Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs from seeking re-election in 2018. Demings won his third term as sheriff in November.

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said Demings will have to resign as sheriff and he will need to submit that letter of resignation to Gov. Rick Scott by June 8. His effective resignation date will likely be in December 2018, which is when the mayor and elected county commissioners are sworn in.

Demings said he has no intention leaving his role as sheriff until absolutely necessary. 

"I do not plan on stepping down while I'm running for Orange County mayor. I intend to continue to serve right through taking office on December the fourth, 2018," Demings said.

The Orange County Supervisor of Elections website also lists Jose Datil-Colom and Robert Edward Melanson as candidates in the race. 

Datil-Colom and Melanson both unsuccessfully ran against Orange County District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke in 2016. Both men have criminal records.

Datil-Colom was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading no contest pleaded to tampering with a witnesses in the public corruption case five years ago and Melanson was arrested and convicted of trespassing in 2013 after he was found on the roof of pop star Rihanna's Los Angeles mansion, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The primary election will take place Aug. 28, 2018. 

Click here to read more on the potential candidates for Orange County sheriff.

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