Interview with Amanda Friedeck for Jim Wells County Judge
How Did you get involved in Politics?
I never thought to myself that I would take any part of politics or government. It was a roundabout journey that began when my husband and I learned of my infertility issues and began taking steps to start a family. Did you know that one of the biggest heartbreaks of infertility is that almost all American insurance does not cover treatment for it? It was my grappling with the financial aspects of having a child that brought me into the sphere of government. I wanted to understand why government mandates in insurance were in place for so many conditions, yet one of the most fundamental aspects of life, reproduction, was denied to me through no fault of my own. Eventually, I decided to seek out the local chapter of the Republican party in my hometown and found myself drawn in by the magnitude of how our lives are actually completely dominated by the way our governments work – both for better and for worse.
What made you want to run?
I want to run to help restore representation and efficient, for-the-people government for Jim Wells County. Jim Wells is historically a family-oriented county – we look after our neighbors like kin. But that notion has been carried to the extreme. Many businesses and political offices in the County are run or held by family dynasties and it seems that most positions are inherited through nepotism. This environment has bred perpetual government overreach, the normalization of deviance, and blatant hostility toward any perceived change to the status quo.
How does Jim Wells county get ignored?
After the decline of the oilfield, a chain reaction started and one by one businesses began to pull out of the area. We get passed over for contracts and bids in favor of other counties and neighboring towns. Part of the blame for this falls on our elected officials for failing to make our county and towns attractive. Our leaders continue to lose bids that would bring opportunities to Jim Wells County because of the nepotism that is rampant in it. Our county needs to be more focused on business rather than on personal connections. Jim Wells County is perfectly centrally located as the hub of South Texas and allows businesses to have access to key trade routes, but we get passed over time and time again because potential suitors don’t see a clear-cut advantage being provided to them.
Tell me what happened during the 2020 election in Jim Wells County?
First of all, our new elections director had no prior experience. He is, however, related to the County Attorney. The election turnout was historic and unfortunately, the elections director was overwhelmed and, whether unwittingly or not, allowed unethical practices in the elections due to what he would say were “loopholes”. For example, one candidate walked in with promotional shirts for their campaign under the guise of helping the elderly – yet they actually offered no assistance and were not legally allowed to be in the polling location (candidates must stay more than 100 feet away from the entrances during voting periods). For another thing, only Democrat poll workers were available to take everyone’s votes at curbside during early voting in the General Election. The elections director never provided the information necessary to the Republican Party or its Chairman to appoint such workers, nor make any effort to ensure that such a vital position was filled properly. In our area, it is also quite common seeing countless Democrat “volunteers” that would hand-deliver to the courthouse stacks of mail-in ballots. I could go on, as these are just a few of the infuriating things we witnessed.
How as a judge county can you help with economic development?
As a judge, I will be the spokeswoman for the county. I am professional, dedicated, and unafraid of a challenge. I have a background in business working with many professional organizations, and I am currently fulfilling the requirements for a Ph.D. in Public Policy – emphasis on Economic Policy. It is important for the Judge to ensure that local businesses are striving and to expand economic opportunities in the county and surrounding area. It is important to network – you know, give a little and take a little when it comes to professional business relationships. Our location is great, so we must focus on local first or we are going to start losing population and businesses. It is important that a county judge be an advocate and principal of their county, and who is actively engaged in facilitating prosperous growth.
What do you say to those critics who say that you should leave things how they are?
I am an American and I understand that everyone has different beliefs, different perspectives, and different backgrounds. What I might see as a problem needing to be addressed might be the solution for another citizen’s problems. And I want to respect those citizens while I do what I feel in my heart is right for the community. Politics are usually not pretty and it is not my goal to further a political career. It is to facilitate change for the better. If a critic cannot understand why I am driven to help change this landscape in Jim Wells, then my first priority is to find out how I can understand that person, and how they can understand me. I love tradition but we must strive to separate tradition from stagnation. To my critics, I ask you to ask yourself: “Can I achieve a little more?” This was the question I posed to myself because I wanted my community to do the same. I hope the answer is a resounding yes. If so, I want them to know I am not doing this for me; I am doing it for them. The people of Jim Wells County deserve better opportunities, now and in the future.