District 3 Commissioner Candidate
*My platform is focused on improving the health and lives of Monroe County residents and families, smart growth, and inclusive governance. I want citizens to know that ss a lifelong advocate for those in need, it would be an honor to serve as County Commissioner.
Born and raised in Monroe County, my husband of seventeen years and I chose to raise our two children in our hometown. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Gender Studies from Indiana University and a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. After working for eight years in community mental health, I became a business owner by opening my own successful downtown practice, Amanda Barge Counseling. I work with Monroe County families, helping them navigate tough issues like divorce, substance abuse and mental health concerns.
I have served on numerous boards and commissions throughout my career, most recently the Monroe County Women's Commission. I also serve on the Community Advisory Committee (of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)) for HUD, making recommendations for funding for important services in our community. I am on the Steering Committee for the Democratic Women's Caucus and am Precinct Vice Chair for the Monroe County Democratic Party.
I am proud to be in my sixth year of volunteering for the MCCSC libraries at her children's schools. I maintain that helping kids develop a love for libraries and reading is so important.
I am a founder and current co-president of the Friends of Sophia Travis Memorial Fund Nonprofit which brought the Women in Government Plaza to the Courthouse Lawn. The project used local limestone and was designed by a local artist to be accessible for all citizens. The group and I worked closely with the County Commissioners and county staff to see the project to completion.
I have been an active participant for other local campaigns, most recently as Treasurer for Isabel Piedmont-Smith's 2015 campaign for City Council.
Of utmost importance to me is the health of Monroe County citizens and I would advocate for social services that improve the community. I support the recently approved syringe exchange program but think we can do better, working with stakeholders and county departments to prevent substance abuse and address mental health issues. Hoosiers know how to come together in time of crisis but we owe it to our citizens to better address the problems that caused the crisis in the first place. I will use my expertise to help ensure Monroe County is proactive about the wellbeing of our residents.
I will work to ensure smart growth, careful planning practices and quality economic development. I support projects that maintain historic buildings, increase energy efficiency and protect the character of Monroe County that is a key reason people want to live here. I also plan to improve diversity on boards and commissions and increase collaboration between the city and county to improve government efficiency. We have so many great citizens doing important work on our commissions but we will solve tough problems more efficiently if we worked together.
I look forward to meeting voters and listening to what they think is important. I will hold weekly meetings during my campaign and when elected will continue regular meetings with residents to hear their concerns. My decisions as Commissioner will be shaped by those discussions and I look forward to helping connect people to the right resources. I plan to demystify government for residents of all ages in hopes that more citizens will trust their public servants and know where to go when they need help.
*For consistency purposes, this candidate statement has been edited into first-person
Additional candidate information:
Letters to the editor
Democracy for Monroe County Candidate Questionnaire
Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire
Herald Times: District 3 Commissioner Race Coverage