Amanda K. Edwards is currently serving as the Houston City Council Member in At-Large Position 4. She is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD in Houston and Emory University in Atlanta, where she earned a degree in political science and numerous academic accolades, including induction into the university’s Hall of Fame.
In her position on the city council, the native Houstonian serves as the vice chair of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee and on the Economic Development and Transportation, Infrastructure and Technology committees.
Rolling out recently spoke with Edwards about her work to help the city of Houston grow, advance and thrive.
What is your role as Houston City Council Member in At-Large Position 4?
My role is to represent all Houstonians. In doing so, I represent constituents from different types of communities. I am the vice chair of the Budget Committee, so I … try to help get the city’s financial matters under control. I’ve led a task force that ignited some catalytic growth in the city with regards to venture capitalism and supports setting up a speaker system for startups to thrive and grow in the tech and innovation space. I’m also starting a woman- and minority-owned business task force in the next coming months. One of the things that is really close to my heart has been [Hurricane] Harvey recovery [and] trying to make sure people are getting the help they need.
How is technology important in your day-to-day operations, and how do you use it in your job?
We have had great fortune here in Houston to have a very strong economy built on many things, including being the energy capital of the world, [having] a strong healthcare industry and other positive inroads in our economy. However,… we haven’t cultivated our startup community in the ways that some of the other places have in the country. I really wanted to focus on how [to] cultivate the talent we have here so that they want to stay when they are a startup, [not] leave and go somewhere else. That became a cornerstone for a lot of work we now do as we are trying to build that ecosystem.
How important do you feel it is for young people of color to get involved in the technology field?
It’s important. The jobs of the future are what we need to be training our young people to have skills for. We live in a world where automation is abundant, and we are moving forward in a way that is really requiring us to make sure that we are growing and changing in terms of how we educate and train. We are going to need to explore new educational models to move forward in a way that our young people are really prepared to work in the new system of tomorrow.
What would you consider your superpower to be?
Energy! I’m pretty tenacious and energetic. I’m going to just keep pushing because the community deserves that. … I want to see progress in the community, so it would be the energy that I derive from that, and it just feeds on itself.