Former Houston City Councilmember, Amanda Edwards has announced she is stepping into the race for Houston mayor, a contest that is already garnering statewide attention despite being over a year away.
The field already includes two names well-known in Texas politics: veteran State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, and Chris Hollins, the former Harris County clerk who oversaw election changes in 2020 that became a lightning rod for Republicans. They are competing to replace term-limited Mayor Sylvester Turner in the November 2023 election, which is nonpartisan.
The Defender talked with Edwards, the 2020 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, about why she is seeking the mayorship, the challenges she believes face Houston and her plans for meeting those challenges.
DEFENDER: Why did you decide to run for Mayor of Houston?
Amanda Edwards: I got into the race because I know that our city right now is at a crossroads. We can either go backward or we can choose to go forward. And I feel very passionate about our city in terms of fixing and addressing some of our lingering challenges and having the skills to do that. But also I really want to see every Houstonian thrive. And so I thought about the opportunities that could be before us in terms of creating a Renaissance for our city. It definitely was part of my motivation to run. And so I’m very committed to the city. I have a passion and skill set, I think uniquely positions me to be effective for the city.
DEFENDER: What are the biggest challenges you beleive the city is facing?
Edwards: Our city is facing a number of challenges. If you poll residents, they’ll tell you crime is an issue in our communities. People are concerned about flooding and roadways. They want quality schools and quality housing in our communities. I also know that you can’t do any of that until you address the city’s financial challenges. And so I think my background as a municipal finance lawyer really will bode well in assisting the city to move through a complicated financial time for our city. I also think in this job, you’ve got to deal with those difficult challenges that you’ll be faced with, but you also have to pursue opportunities. And so when I was a council member, I had the great fortune of creating the task force for teaching innovation in our city, which recommended that we create an innovation district. And so with that in mind, I think we’ve gotta be looking for opportunities to grow Houston. How do we bring more people in?
DEFENDER: You’re entering a crowded field. Why are you the right person for the job?
Edwards: I’ve got the commitment and skills necessary, not only to have a bold vision for our city, but to actually execute a bold vision for our city to make sure that we reconnect to our roots of innovation and opportunity for all people. I also have the skills that are going to be required to navigate some of the really difficult challenges. I know city hall. I’ve been an at-large council member, so I’ve been elected before. So that, as well as having a background that understands the city’s finances is going to be really important in order to make sure that you have the resources necessary to address some of the other challenges we’ve discussed.