Amanda Arizola: Data tells the story
Born and raised in Fort Worth - a sixth-generation Texan - Amanda Arizola has dedicated her life to achieving economic stability and equitable political representation in her hometown. Arizola’s parents were public servants: a nurse and a Marine. The desire to serve is no doubt a trait they passed onto their daughter, who is involved in a variety of public service boards and advocacy organizations.
Losing her father at a young age and being raised in a low-income, single-parent home were formative experiences for Arizola. They shaped her political ideology that she says ‘doesn’t often fit into one group or the other’. She recounts her mother’s encouragement to keep an open mind, learn, debate, and rely on her own intellect. In her youth, Arizola had a fondness for public radio and, during the 1992 presidential debate between Clinton and Bush, wondered why the candidates could not find a middle ground. It led her to a unifying perspective that would prove useful in the coalition-building she would go on to do. Currently, Arizola serves as Chief Analyst for Urban Theory and Dallas County Program Manager for Reflect Us. Urban Theory is a social innovation lab that provides nonprofits the freedom and security to try programs in hopes of solving complex urban issues. Reflect Us is a coalition of organizations working toward the collective goal of electing women into political office. In both positions, Arizola utilizes her love of data to identify issues and achieve results. As she puts it, “the data tells the story.” One example she uses is that of the thirty cities within the DFW Metroplex, only four have a female mayor. Underscoring the problem with that statistic is difficult to put into words for Arizola; she believes that women have a special ability to see beyond the constraints of time, borders, and social, economic, or political barriers. Her goal is to help women bring this intuition and vision to the table. Arizola has some words of advice for women wanting to pursue a career in politics: know that they are powerful, capable, and to not let fear hold them back. When asked about her greatest accomplishments, Arizola speaks to her affinity for public service and helping others. She recalls her involvement in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Surrounded by controversy and contention, the process was met with opposition and riddled with negativity. However, all the effort became worth it when Arizola was able to hear about the financial relief families received. Her role in the healthcare and economic stability sectors made ACA implementation a personal and professional success for Arizola. The possibilities are endless for Arizola, and she is considering what her next move will be. She knows that no matter what the future holds, she is surrounded by mentors, friends, and family who celebrate her accomplishments and lift her up. She has already contributed so much to advocacy groups and public service, but this is just the beginning.