WASHINGTON — Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings often discusses her resume as she describes her unlikely rise to Congress.
She’s the daughter of a maid and a janitor who climbed the ranks of the Orlando Police Department until she became the city’s first female chief of police and then a congresswoman.
Now, she’s one of seven House impeachment managers who will soon make the case for the U.S. Senate to oust President Donald Trump from office.
Demings, 62, has likely gotten accustomed to being on the national stage throughout the impeachment process. She sits on both the House Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee, which were central to the impeachment investigation against Trump.
But she’ll be under an even more intense spotlight when she assumes the role of a prosecutor in the high-profile Senate trial that could take weeks or even months.
The Orlando Democrat said Wednesday in a statement that the evidence against Trump is “overwhelming.” The House passed two impeachment articles against Trump last year, finding that he had abused his power and obstructed Congress.
And although the GOP-led Senate is widely expected to acquit Trump, Demings said she has not “written off” the upper chamber. “Each senator still has the power to do the right thing. I know that as each senator considers whether to side with justice or corruption, the voices of the American people will matter,” she said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the roster of impeachment managers on Wednesday ahead of a floor vote on a resolution to formally name those managers and transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial.
“Today, I have the privilege of naming the Managers of the impeachment trial of the President,” Pelosi said at a press conference. “It is their responsibility to present the very strong case for the President’s impeachment and removal. The Impeachment Managers represent the patriotism, pluralism and vibrancy of America.”
Demings will be joined by House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas).
Demings will be the third Floridian to serve as a manager in a Senate impeachment trial; GOP Reps. Bill McCollum and Charles Canady were impeachment managers in the trial against President Bill Clinton in 1999.
“We knew that maybe we wouldn’t win it in the Senate for a whole host of reasons, but we all thought we had to do our best,” McCollum said in an interview last May.
Demings said in a recent interview that she’s been frustrated as Republican lawmakers have rallied around Trump “when the evidence is in plain sight or is as clear as day.”
The former cop — who started her law enforcement career in the 1980s, patrolling Orlando’s west side — said she focuses on the facts. “On the street, the elements of the crime were either there or not there and if they were there, you took action.”
She added that impeachment isn’t personal for her. “Just like people in our communities have to be held accountable, no one is above the law.”