Val Demings says Marco Rubio is ‘not comfortable’ speaking with various communities | Florida News | Tampa

On the heels of new voting numbers Showing her closer than ever to overtaking Republican incumbent Marco Rubio in the US Senate race, Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings plans to put the pedal to the metal – literally and figuratively – to close the distance ahead of Election Day.

Demings, who served as Orlando’s first female police chief, said she will enforce an outreach policy she established in this role and meet many different makeups of communities across Florida.

That, she argued, is something her opponent is not comfortable doing.

“He goes into very scripted environments,” she said. “I guess it worked out for him, but that’s not who I am. I will continue to drive around the state from the Panhandle to the Keys, and at the end of the day, I really believe I will have the votes I need to be the one running the strip.

She continued, “I am doing something Senator Rubio is not comfortable doing. I travel around the state, talking to all the voters about things that matter to them. I’m doing what I did as chief of police. I didn’t just go to communities and talk to people who looked like me or shared the same agenda as me. I talk to all constituents 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 Gifford Florida at Regatta Park in Coconut Grove. The tour will pass through Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Orlando through September 13.

She made several stops in Miami that day, but said her campaign schedule prevented her from being able to attend the larger tour.

At the launch, Demings spoke alongside several other Democratic politicians, including U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Miami State Senator Annette Taddeo, who is running to replace Republican Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar, and the Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, now Giffords’ senior adviser.

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 shootings, also took the floor.

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

Asked for comment, its director of communications, Elizabeth Gregory, noted Rubio’s support for the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 which improved the protection of schools from attack.

“In the aftermath of Parkland, Senator Rubio sat down with Republicans, Democrats, students, parents, law enforcement and others to find common ground. Although they didn’t agree on everything, they were able to make significant progress, including with the STOP Violence in Schools Act,” she wrote, adding that Rubio also supported the Extreme Risk Protection Ordinance and Violence Prevention Act, which would reinforce the red flag. laws and the Safe Schools Act Luke and Alex.

Gregory did not answer a question about a new survey commissioned by AARP in Florida showing Demings within 3 percentage points of passing Rubio, who pollsters found below the critical 50% mark with Florida voters .

Rubio and Demings have repeatedly called themselves “hardliners” on the abortion issue. But when it comes to crime, Rubio’s efforts to slander his opponent have failed, with fact-checking site PolitiFact classifying an ad run in his campaign suggesting Demings “called police abolition ‘thoughtful'” a lie.

In an ad touting his 27-year career in law enforcement, Demings called any suggestion of defunding the police “crazy.”

“I’m a law enforcement officer, and I know Marco Rubio doesn’t want me to talk about it, but I’ve had this job longer than any job in my life, and I’m very proud of my record,” she said Thursday. .

“At the end of the day, 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. When 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 that if we start cutting police budgets they will become even more vulnerable and they just want to be treated with dignity and respect, right?

“So I appeal to all voters, regardless of their politics. The bond that unites us is safer communities, and that’s what we work for.

This post first appeared on Florida Politics.

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