Angels Camp Leader is the Nation’s First Female Deaf Mayor
Last year, Amanda Folendor was elected to be Angel’s Camp,
California’s first female deaf mayor in American history. Within four years, Folendor went from the youngest city council member to the leader of Angel Camp.
When Folendor was born she had a rare birth defect called diaphragmatic hernia. With this, she had to take medications and undergo surgeries that ultimately damaged her hearing.
Throughout childhood, her parents were not aware of her deafness until she was seven years old. At an early age, she practiced reading lips which created the illusion that she could hear. However, her parents ensured that she would never feel different. They encouraged her to do anything that she wanted. There was never something they believed she could not do.
With this, she believes that her deafness is not a disability.
“Hearing impaired and disability, I’m trying to throw that label out. We’re no different than anyone else; we just can’t hear,” Amanda Folendorf.
Originally, Folendorf’s father ran in the city council for 25 years and during that time he was mayor as well. He inspired her by shaping the town into a place she calls home. Hence, she immediately fell in love with public service.
The Deaf Community also played a major role in supporting her to become active in public service. After attending Sacramento State University for Political Science, she felt confident to establish a leadership role back in California. In 2007, she was crowned Miss Deaf California to advocate for Deaf Rights. During this time she was exposed to mentors and opportunities that stirred her career. She began traveling the state representing the California Association of the Deaf and Miss Deaf California. She was able to work with the community and influence change for deaf individuals.
Folendorf flourished in public speaking and using her efforts to establish positive change. This eventually led her to volunteer for the City Council in Angel Camp, California and then to run for Mayor.
“I think that if you believe it, and you want it, there should be no reason why you can’t get to that goal,”Amanda Folendorf.