Senate hopeful Amanda Edwards knows all too well how policy can impact people's lives.
When she was 10 years old, her father was diagnosed with cancer, forcing her to become aware of the U.S. healthcare system. He explained to her the inner workings of insurance and how if for some reason they had no coverage or health care it was up to them to "figure something out."
The exchange left Edwards with a seriousness of purpose. The 38-year-old Texas native has harnessed that sense of duty to represent and advocate for her community in various capacities. As an attorney, in 2015 she was elected to Houston's city council, a position that left her responsible for representing 2.3 million constituents. While a council member she drove citywide efforts to integrate technological innovation and improve public transit. Houston's incoming Innovation District was recommended by a task force she initiated, according to her website.
"I take a very serious approach to impacting change, doing the things that we say we're going to do, not making a game out of the political sphere but rather making it a place that's truly about serving people because their issues do matter," Edwards told Blavity Politics.
Instead of running for reelection to the at-large council, Edwards believes she would be of better use serving all Texans by running for Senate. Should she be elected, Edwards would be the first African American woman ever to represent Texas as a U.S. senator and only the third black woman to ever hold a U.S. Senate seat. Carol Moseley Braun was a U.S. senator representing Illinois, and former presidential hopeful Kamala Harris currently represents California.
Edwards is one of 11 candidates vying to win the Texas Democratic primary on March 3. If successful she would go up against Trump loyalist John Cornyn. According to The Texas Tribune, she's raised over $800,000 to back her campaign and is considered a front runner.
When Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas to catastrophic effect, Edwards organized volunteer relief efforts. Efforts that she is apparently still spearheading over two years later. She believes in "servant leadership."
"It can not just be campaign promises for the objective of winning an election and not delivering on those promises," she said.
Health care, economy and education are a few of the primary platform focuses she lists on her campaign page. Notably her campaign has a point simply titled "people."
"One of the things that I think is a mistake that is often made is when you try to lead and you think you have the answers before you've had the opportunity to engage the people you lead,” Edwards said. “I want to be remembered for my impact, the ability to lead people and empower people in a way that we start shifting the paradigm. But to really make sure people are reclaiming their power."
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