If former Vice President Joe Biden has any shot at winning in November, he needs black female voters to come through for him as they did during the Democratic primary—and a black woman on his ticket.
Of all of the names being considered for his vice president, Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) has become a top contender and The Root will be interviewing her during an Instagram Live discussion Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
She served as an impeachment manager for House Democrats during impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, raising her profile as a protector of American democracy and its institutions. That, along with her background as the police chief of Orlando before winning her congressional seat in Florida’s 10th District, has made her a top candidate to be Biden’s running mate.
During a virtual campaign stop with Demings at a food bank in Orlando, Biden acknowledged as much.
“She is one of a group of close to a dozen really qualified and talented women who are on the list,” Biden said in a May 7 interview with an Orlando TV news station. “She’s a very competent, very capable person.”
One of the key areas we will be discussing with Demings is how her home state of Florida is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 people have died from the virus, according to Florida Today. The publication reports that the state is not releasing data that can track race, but of the first 25 people to die 12 were black; many of the deaths were of young people. There is also the story of the Florida scientist who was reportedly fired for not manipulating data to support the state’s reopening. We will ask the congresswoman how she is responding to the pandemic’s impact on black people in her state and nationally.
Another key conversation we will be about the 2020 Census, how the pandemic is impacting fair elections and what Demings’ role is in Congress to ensure Floridians will have access to the ballot—especially black people with felony convictions who are currently dealing with getting their voting rights restored.
One of the congresswoman’s passions is fighting gun violence. She has been one of the more forceful voices in Congress when it comes to gun safety and restrictions. As a former police chief, Demings has a deep understanding of safety and how gun violence affects communities. She has already introduced a bill that would ban the use of federal funding to buy guns for teachers and one that would regulate armor-piercing and concealable weapons.
She has also been outspoken about supporting assault gun bans. We’ll also ask her about the racial profiling of black people during the pandemic and how this issue should be addressed.
These are just some of the key questions we will ask Rep. Demings during our 40-minute conversation on The Root’s Instagram (@the.root) at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Update: May 21, 2020, 9:28 a.m. ET: The Root’s IG Live interview with Rep. Val Demings has been canceled.