Edwards Believes Buncombe County is Doing Well - TribPapers

Edwards Believes Buncombe County is Doing Well

Amanda Edwards. Photo submitted.

Buncombe County Distict 3 – The current seat holder for the Buncombe County Commissioner Seat in District 3 is looking to retain her place on the board as she runs for re-election. Amanda Edwards, a Town of Weaverville resident since 2005, hopes to hold on to her seat this November.

Edwards, a Democrat, has been a county resident since the mid-1990s. She has an undergrad degree in Mass Communications and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Tennessee. She has been the head of the Literacy Council for the county, the executive director of the Western North Carolina Red Cross, and the executive director of college advancement at AB Tech since 2015.

“I’m running for re-election because there’s more to do on behalf of the residents of Buncombe County,” said Edwards when asked why she was running for office. “In 2018, I ran on a platform of rebuilding trust and accountability to the residents of Buncombe County… I think one of the biggest accomplishments in my time that we’ve made is that we’ve increased transparency. We’ve put a lot of mechanisms in place to do that and also rebuilding trust within the residents of Buncombe County. One of the ways we did that was by hiring a new county manager who has come in and really worked hand-in-hand with us to do those things.” She said she has been advocating for land conservation and renewable energy, along with serving on the affordable housing committee and working to improve emergency services.
She believes she’s good at listening and then using that to “drive policy to deliver services to our residents. Particularly in a way that is effective and respectful.”

When asked what makes her the better candidate, Edwards said, “My background (citing her work and education)…What I do is provide real solutions for real people in my day-to-day work. I see that as my job as a Buncombe County commissioner as well…I’m working every day to reduce poverty across Buncombe County, to increase opportunity for our residents and improve liveability. That’s what I hear folks across Buncombe County asking for.”

Asked what the biggest issues facing the district and the county as a whole are, Edwards believes they are the same, facing both. “It’s what I call kitchen table issues. It’s the things that we talk about when we’re having dinner with our family or friends…It’s gas prices. It’s food prices, housing costs, and wages, and those issues are the context for Buncombe County’s social, environmental, and economic issues.” She said, “I will continue, if re-elected, to be a voice asking us, as commissioners, to demonstrate how we are connecting the dots when we explore solutions to these kitchen table issues and make decisions on behalf of the people of Buncombe County.” 

Asked what, if any, was the biggest misstep by the county government in the last four years. Edwards could not think of any but said, “In the last four years, I think we have made such big strides in… increasing transparency to Buncombe County and to really dig deep into issues that are brought forward. So I think we’ve done a great job in listening to our residents across Buncombe County, hearing what they have to say.” Adding, “I think we’ve done a great job. There is always room to continue working on improving those issues.”

When asked to name the county’s most significant accomplishment in the last four years, Edwards couldn’t narrow it down to just one. “I think the last four years have been full of accomplishments. Most significant is challenging to say because there’s so much good work that has been done across Buncombe County.” She again cited hiring a new county manager, working to increase transparency, rebuild relationships, the work done by the affordable housing committee and how the commissioners reinvested the recovery funds.

Before they voted, Edwards wanted voters to know “What I want them to know is something I said earlier… how important it is to listen to and build relationships with the residents of Buncombe County. I want them to know they can count on me to think critically and to do the research necessary before taking a position or casting a vote. I think it’s important as a commissioner to be able to tell you why and how a policy is likely to effectively deliver a necessary service, relief, opportunity, or improvement.”