Jada Andrews-Sullivan: Overcoming divisive politics with love
Jada Andrews-Sullivan currently represents District 2 on the San Antonio City Council, a position she was elected to as a first-time candidate. She is running for re-election for the first time. Her goal is to unify the people of her district who have felt disenfranchised in San Antonio’s political scene. Jada wants to be the true heart of representation for District 2, by restoring their faith in their elected officials. Her goal is to overcome the divisive nature of politics with love, peace, and resolve.
Jada was born and raised on the East side of San Antonio. Her parents moved to the area because her father was in the Air Force and San Antonio is home to multiple military bases. As a younger resident of District 2, Jada recounted the sense of connection within her community. “We knew our neighbors, we had a connected feeling of strength, a connected feeling of pride,” she said. Even when gang violence became more prevalent in the area, her neighborhood remained unified. The deterioration of this unity started when elected officials stopped visiting her community.
Over time, Jada became frustrated with the inconsistent representation of District 2. She would describe her discontent with her mother, Jada’s first role model. Jada’s mother used to tell her children not to bring her a problem but rather a solution. When Jada started to speak about her frustration with her mother, Jada’s mom simply replied, “so what is your solution?” Hearing her advice from her mother inspired Jada to pursue a solution: become a member of the City Council.
When Jada ultimately decided that she wanted to represent District 2, the former council member had resigned, leaving a vacant seat. Typically, to pursue a seat vacated before an election cycle, a city government will wait until the next election. In this case, the San Antonio City Council was required to fill the seat by a majority vote of the remaining councilors. Jada sought the vacant seat along with twelve other applicants for the position. Rather than the small interview, with current council members, Jada embarked on a televised vetting process. Unfortunately, she was not selected. Five months later, Jada decided to seek election to the seat.
Eventually, Jada won her election campaign after facing a tough runoff election against a person with previous experience as a councilor. She was most grateful for her children or “grown little people” as she dotingly described them. Her children were able to help her campaign and keep her spirits high when she was tired. She also relied on her campaign treasurer, Lou Miller who would become her Chief of Staff. Jada praised her closest circle of friends and family for standing in her corner during her campaign. Her circle began to grow as more and more community members began lending their support. She credits this to the “heart” she dedicated to representing the district. “You want your authentic self to be the highlight of that campaign,” Jada said.
As a San Antonio City Councilmember, Jada is prioritizing the economic development of the city. She understands that years of gentrification in District 2 have left constituents apathetic and complacent, especially when they have not seen resources poured into their neighborhoods. Economic segregation, described as the inequitable distribution of resources, has led to increased crime in some areas like District 2. The pandemic has exacerbated this resource gap among areas. She plans to continue developing small businesses in her community with the help of partner organizations like San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE). Her goal is to restore the lack of faith her constituents have in elected officials.
Now, Jada is flourishing in and out of the council chambers. Jada recently graduated with her Associate degree alongside her youngest daughter—Jada’s most proud moment to date. She advises other young women interested in politics to go for it. “If you have the vision, go for it. Write the vision. Make it known,” Jada said. She wants everyone to live by her motto: “Even if you think that you want to shoot for the stars, go further because there is a stratosphere of opportunity with your name on it.”
For more information about Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan, please visit www.jadaandrewssullivan.com