Amanda Edwards: Filling the needed spaces
Amanda Edwards is running in the Democratic primary to serve as the next United States Senator, facing eleven other candidates. Prior to running a statewide campaign, Amanda served on the Houston City Council. With her background in politics, it may be shocking to hear that Amanda has never “liked” politics—but she had a gut feeling to serve others through elected office. Amanda is transforming the status quo that a candidate has to be in love with the idea of politics itself rather than serving others. In Amanda’s words, “[i]t’s not about the spaces that you’re most comfortable, it’s about the spaces that you’re most needed.”
Amanda was born and raised in Houston, Texas; she still calls Houston her home to this day. A large part of Amanda’s upbringing was based in service. While not focused in political service, her family’s day-to-day operation centered around giving to others. When Amanda was ten, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Seven years later, her father passed away. It was during this time that Amanda began to understand the importance of service to others, particularly through elected office. She learned a lot about the healthcare system, asking her father what would happen if he couldn’t afford the treatment he was receiving. It was then that Amanda began to understand that importance of elected office, saying “it can be the difference between life and death.”
During her junior year of high school, Amanda started to materialize her interest in elected office. She remembers taking a trip to Washington, D.C. through the program Close Up, a civic engagement program for middle school and high school students. During this trip, she was exposed to government and the impact that youth can have on it. Amanda vividly remembers the weather, her excitement, and even the souvenir she bought her father: a money clip that said “Law.” Her father would pass away two months after this trip. But his money clip would be more than a souvenir; it would unknowingly forecast her future career as a lawyer.
Amanda worked as a municipal finance lawyer before originally being elected to Houston’s city council. When speaking to the work-life balance, Amanda believes it is much more difficult for first-time candidates. She knows that a campaign is all-consuming and difficult to balance with a career; running for office requires high levels of focus and resiliency. Put simply, Amanda compares a campaign to building a plane and flying it at the same time. Yet, in the face of these challenges, Amanda knows that she needs to fill the spaces that need her. She wants to help lead the wave of servant leaders into a new era of politics.
Prior to running for U.S. Senate, Amanda served as Houston City Councilmember where she served over 2.3 million constituents. She believes she stands out as a candidate in the primary because of her service during this time. While on council, Amanda recalls her service to the community following Hurricane Harvey, a natural disaster that wreaked havoc across the Southern region of Texas in late 2017. In the aftermath of the storm, Amanda headed to the disaster zones with hundreds of volunteers to help with clean-up. She remembers knocking on doors and being asked if she was canvassing for re-election—Amanda was shocked. She realized that community members were used to seeing politicians at their door when they needed a vote as opposed to help in the face of natural disaster. She was glad to break that thought pattern by stepping up to the plate to help.
Now, as a candidate to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, Amanda has shifted her focus to a widespread platform. Amanda was to increase access to healthcare by expanding upon the Affordable Care Act (ACA),closing short-term loopholes, and reducing the price of prescription drugs. Additionally, Amanda also wants to create economic opportunity for all. Specifically, Amanda speaks to technological innovation. In light of the fear many workers face regarding automation, Amanda believes that we should handle the issue through an innovative lens, finding additional opportunity ahead of time for laborers.
Prior to the March primaries, Amanda wants to impress the importance of voting on statewide constituents. She wants to reach out to the frustrated voters and amplify their voices while battling voter apathy. As a candidate, Amanda says, “We can restore faith and confidence to have an empowered electorate. We don’t want to have politicians playing with other people’s lives.”
To learn more about Amanda’s campaign, visit her website here:www.amandafortexas.com