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At left, Deltona City Commissioner Loren King.

For the second time in as many weeks, a Deltona elected official formerly connected to a controversial group has turned down demands that he step down.

City Commissioner Loren King once again came under fire Nov. 1 for his erstwhile membership in the Oath Keepers, a group that calls upon police and military personnel to maintain their oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution even after their active service ends. Some blame the organization for causing the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, while the 2020 electoral votes were being counted.

Although King says he left the Oath Keepers in 2017 and he denounces “extremism” and does not “subscribe to anything those extremists did,” he faced a litany of calls for him to quit the City Commission.

“The Oath Keepers embraced [President Donald] Trump’s lies about election fraud and promoted Jan. 6 as the last chance … to preserve the republic,” Dr. L. Ronald Durham told the commission.

Durham, who identified himself as the president of the Volusia County Democratic Black Caucus, said “these insurrectionists inflicted $30 million of damage, which resulted in the deaths of five American citizens.”

“We are therefore deeply concerned about his [King’s] ability to govern rationally in the city of Deltona,” he added.

Mike Williams echoed the “demand [for] the resignation of Loren King.”

Williams said the first public call at the City Commission’s Oct. 18 meeting for King to resign “was just a shot over the bow.”

“We will continue to shine a light on Deltona as long as Loren King is a city commissioner here,” he added.

Yet another voice for King’s exit from the City Commission was Larry Mack, who added he would like “to hear from each one of you,” meaning the city commissioners, regarding King’s continuation in office. The answer came a short time later.

Before the meeting ended, Commissioner David Sosa looked at the other end of the dais and complimented King.

“You joined the Navy 51 years ago,” Sosa began. “You went above and beyond and became a Navy SEAL. And then you became a lineman for a utility company. You provided the lighting and the air conditioning here. … Sir, I’ve known you for several years. … You’re a man of God. You’re a man of integrity. You have morals. You have ethics.”

“I have known you since I have been up here on this dais,” Commissioner Dana McCool told King. “I have known you to be an honorable man. I have never known you to be racially biased.”

“Commissioner King left this organization [Oath Keepers] before his time on the dais,” she added. “I have known him to be a hard worker for this community and for the constituents, and I appreciate that.”

For his part, King was silent until his turn for closing comments came.

“I almost hate to address the lies that have been spewed out of mouths tonight,” he began. “I joined [Oath Keepers] in October 2015. … I paid my dues that year. In October 2016, I renewed my dues.”

King said he chose not to pay his annual dues in the Oath Keepers in 2017.

“All of the people who spoke tonight concerning this matter don’t know me,” he continued, adding his family sided and “suffered” with the Union in the Civil War.

“My family died to save black people in this country,” he continued, as he included a bit of personal history. “So don’t go pointing your finger at this family. … My mama got flak quite often when I would drink from the black water fountains instead of the white water fountains. I couldn’t tell the difference.

“We are all human beings, and we were all created by God,” King concluded. “If anybody still has an issue, make an appointment and sit down and talk to me, instead of running your mouth to the media.”

Mayor Heidi Herzberg closed the meeting on a positive note, expressing appreciation for her colleagues and their willingness to serve in public office.

“We sitting up here do our best,” she said. “It’s never easy to be personally attacked. It’s the public’s right, and everyone has an opinion. … We do an amazing job, even though we have personal differences. … We may not always agree.”

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