“Don’t ask me what I am interested in doing; ask me what I’ve done.”
- Amanda Edwards
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: SUPPORT FOR TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION AND SMALL BUSINESS
- In early 2016, Amanda Edwards initiated and led the Mayor’s Technology & Innovation Task Force to build a more robust and innovative Houston economy. The Task Force, led by Edwards, recommended the creation of an Innovation District in Houston’s Midtown. Phase one of the Innovation District, the construction of a multi-use tech space known as The Ion, broke ground during the summer of 2019. Once completed, The Ion will serve as a hub for Houston’s burgeoning technology and innovation ecosystem.
AmandaEdwards initiated Houston’s High-Capacity Transit Task Force in 2017 in order to lay the groundwork for a regional transit system that can serve an expected population increase of 4.2 million people and 1.6 million new jobs between now and 2045. Much of the expected population growth will occur in areas of the region not currently served by, or with limited access to transit.
In 2018, Amanda Edwards initiated The City of Houston Women and Minority-Owned Business Task Force in response to data illustrating that minority-owned businesses are three times less likely to gain access to capital. Edwards has since championed a lending ordinance that incentivizes lending to women, veterans and minority-owned businesses.
In 2019, Amanda Edwards initiated the development of a Smart Cities Initiative Plan. The Initiative’s objective is already being realized via the City of Houston’s multi-year partnership with Microsoft. The fruits of this partnership include the recent installation of WiFi on the Houston bus system to ensure community members have access to the digital economy.
Amanda Edwards assisted in the design and implementation of the Complete Communities Initiative (launched in 2017) to revitalize under-resourced Houston communities. The initiative doesn’t simply impose programs on under-resourced neighborhoods; rather, Edwards and her colleagues are collaborating with community members to create and implement a shared neighborhood vision that empowers the community for the long-term.
Amanda Edwards led Houston-area efforts to ensure regional opportunity zones not only benefit job creators, but create upward mobility in under-resourced communities. Through this work, she created the vision statement for the City and led the efforts to prepare the Prospectus Phase One to highlight the opportunities for win-win scenarios in Houston relating to Opportunity Zones.
COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION, ENGAGEMENT AND EMPOWERMENT: BE THE SOLUTION
- One of Amanda Edwards’ guiding principles is, “be the solution.” In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Edwards did just that by mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to go door to door in vulnerable Gulf Coast communities to provide recovery supplies, emergency information, and connect residents in need to case management services. Her efforts did not cease when the cameras went away. Over the past two years, Edwards has continued to advocate in Austin and Washington, D.C. on behalf of Texans who are still recovering from Harvey. She has used her public platform to ensure that recovery programs do indeed assist folks in need.
- Amanda Edwards’ proudest accomplishment -- and ongoing effort -- is ensuring that each of her 2.3. million constituents have the tools and knowledge they need to hold their government officials accountable. She regularly hosts empowerment events for seniors, families, women and youth and encourages folks to “be the solution,” in their communities.