ANGELS CAMP (CBS13) — Angels Camp has a new mayor, and she’s breaking barriers.
She’s being recognized as not only the youngest member of the city council but the first female deaf mayor in American history.
“I think Amanda is an inspiration to our community and an inspiration for others,” said Melissa Eeds.
Amanda Folendorf, a Sac State grad, was sworn in last month.
“It’s an honor that my peers appointed me and believed in me taking on this leadership role,” said Folendorf.
Born with a rare birth defect called diaphragmatic hernia, the 31-year-old had to take medications as a baby that ultimately damaged her hearing.
During her interview with CBS13, Folendorf says she can only pick up low-frequency noises, and she was reading lips to get through the questions.
But she does not see her deafness as 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,” said Folendorf.
So how does she go about her daily mayoral duties?
“There’s a team of interpreters. They help me get through my meetings. Without them, I’d be so lost,” she said.
From interpreters to the use of various technologies Mayor Folendorf is able to get by. Growing up in Angels Camp, she credits her parents for never making her feel inferior.
“There was never the word can’t, you can and you will,” she said.
In fact, in 2007 while advocating for deaf rights, she was crowned Miss Deaf California.
“It was an amazing experience, helped me build confidence, confidence to be in front of people,” said Folendorf.
And now this hometown girl turned mayor wants to give back to her community and wants the deaf community to know, anything is possible.
“I think that if you believe it, and you want it, there should be no reason why you can’t get to that goal,” she said.
Folendorf says her first goal as mayor is to bring economic growth to the city.
And by sharing her story, she hopes to inspire others not to allow obstacles to stand in their way.