Jerry Demings officially becomes Orange County's first African American mayor


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As he took the oath of office this morning, Jerry Demings became Orange County's first African American mayor in its 173-year history.

Demings, a City Beautiful native, was also Orlando's first African American police chief; the first African American elected as Orange County Sheriff, where he served three terms; and the first African American public safety director.

He replaces former Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who left office due to term limits. Jacobs was elected chair of the Orange County School Board.

Demings, a Democrat, faced off against Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke and local businessman Rob Panepinto in the Nov. 6 general election.

Because the county mayor is a nonpartisan position, the election was won outright once Demings received at least 50 percent plus one vote. He finished with more than 62 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting.

Demings is married to U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Orlando, who, prior to her time in Congress, was the first woman to serve as Orlando Police Chief. 

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