You don’t have to be a Texan to train your eyes on the Lone Star State’s potentially history-making Senate race.
Houston-native Amanda Edwards, 37, is a Democratic favorite to unseat Republican incumbent John Cornyn, 67, during the March 3 Texas primary. If she wins, Edwards would be Texas’ first Black, female Senator, helping turn a red state, blue. And, it would be a huge upset to the GOP: Cornyn has remained in his seat ever since 2002 when he was first elected.
Edwards reflected on the enormity of it all during an exclusive sitdown with theGrio.
“It becomes a question about what is possible in our America and what people believe,” she tells theGrio.
“Being the face of a different type of change and energy for people and energy for results…that is something that encourages me and inspires me and keeps me motivated to work hard so that we can have the outcome we all deserve, which is to have a new United States Senator, who happens to be the first Black woman elected to that role, from Texas.”
Since announcing her campaign in July 2019, the former Houston councilwoman has amassed a fan following for her down-to-earth appeal. (It also helped that Beyonce’s mom, Tina Knowles-Lawson threw her a fundraiser.) She champions a revival of the Affordable Care Act after watching her late-father battle with cancer and shrinking healthcare options. (Edwards recently confided her mother now, too, has cancer.) She’s also determined to toughen up gun laws. At the age of nine, Edwards lost her cousin to gun violence. Today, she’s pushing for restriction on assault weapons, and comprehensive background checks. She’s also zeroing in on raising the minimum wage, revitalizing neighborhoods (without gentrifying them), and making Pell grants more accessible to college-bound students in need.
Edwards’ journey to politics began as a teen. Shortly after she graduated Eisenhower High School in Aldine Independent School District, she worked for U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). She then attended Harvard Law School before serving as a judicial clerk under a New Orleans district judge before returning to Houston to learn what it takes to serve locals by becoming a councilwoman.
Still, Edwards knows she’ll need an unprecedented push at the polls for her win, and hopes that disenfranchised voters who once rallied hard behind Beto O’Rourke, who failed in his bid for Ted Cruz’s seat in the 2018 Texas Senate race, will channel their hopes into her.
“I think many people think that Texas is just simply this vast red state that has no hope for a Democrat like me,” adds Edwards. “But the truth is, actually, Texas is changing quickly.”