Meet Florida’s key players in impeachment hearings

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Day two of impeachment hearings will begin Friday hundreds of miles away from Florida, but the Sunshine State has some key players taking part in the impeachment hearings.

Pam Bondi

With deep roots in Tampa Bay, Pam Bondi got her start as a former prosecutor and spokeswoman in Hillsborough County. Bondi was elected to become Florida’s first female Attorney General in 2010.

Bondi got into hot water in 2014, when her reelection campaign accepted $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, after which Bondi chose not to join a lawsuit against Trump University. Critics called into question the timeline and solicitation of the donation.

Bondi, a long-time Trump supporter and Republican, joined the White House staff earlier this month as one of two people in charge of impeachment-related communications.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings

A Democrat from Orlando, Rep. Val Demings is a member of the Intelligence Committee. That means she is part of a Congress trio tasked with investigations of the president and potentially drafting articles of impeachment.

Rep. Demings has spent decades in public service, beginning with her time as a social worker in Jacksonville. She later joined the Orlando Police Department. In 2007, Demings was appointed to the position of Chief of the Orlando Police Departmen. She retired in June of 2011 after 27 years with the OPD.

Demings’ political career began in 2012 when she ran as the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida’s 10th congressional district. She narrowly lost with 48 percent of the vote. Demings ran again in 2016, winning with 65 percent of the vote. Last year, she was reelected with no opposition.

Following the testimony of special counsel Robert Mueller, Demings was one of the first in her party to recommend impeachment proceedings.

  • Matt Gaetz
  • Pam Bondi

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz

A native Floridian, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has been a reliable, vocal supporter of President Trump. Gaetz began his political career in 2010 after his predecessor lost his position following corruption charges. Gaetz was subsequently reelected in 2012 and 2014. He currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

Gaetz made headlines a few weeks ago after he led other Republicans in entering a closed-door impeachment hearing to voice their opposition, causing Chairman Adam Schiff to ask him to “absent yourself.”

U.S. Rep Francis Rooney

Seasoned Republican Rep. Francis Rooney made media waves just weeks ago when he stepped out of line with his fellow Republicans to say he would be open to the impeachment of President Trump.

Rooney, a former investment banker, was elected to represent Florida’s 19th congressional district— just south of the Tampa Bay area — in 2016. He also served as the United States Ambassador to the Holy See between 2005 and 2008.

Last month, Rooney announced he would not run for reelection saying he wanted to be a model for term limits.

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