ANGELS CAMP — The 31-year-old Mayor of Angels Camp is the first deaf female mayor in the United States and the youngest mayor in Angels Camp.
“It’s an honor to be seen in that leadership role,” said Amanda Folendorf.
Folendorf was born with a diaphragmatic hernia and the medicine she had to take to save her life damaged her hearing.
She was born and raised in Angels Camp and says the town is a wonderful place to raise families and build businesses.
In 2014, Folendorf campaigned for city council at 27 years old. Now, she thanks the council and family for support during her journey and credits her success to them after she was appointed as mayor in January.
“We did grow up in the same historic downtown neighborhood, so it’s exciting to be working with Amanda as our mayor and I look forward to the innovation, and technology and youthful experience that she’s going to bring to our community,” said City Administrator Melissa Eads.
Folendorf signed her interview with FOX40 to show the value of American Sign Language and that her hearing won’t stop her.
“I see it as my superpower,” she signed. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to use.”
But superpowers don’t protect her from everything. She says people have their doubts because of her age.
“Takes a lot of confidence to stand up in front of those people and say, ‘Yes I can,'” she signed.
She faces challenges to keep up with her hearing, but Folendorf has two interpreters at city council meetings. They allow her to bring her unique perspective to Angels Camp.
The 31-year-old mayor is focusing on economic growth and viability through preserving the history of the area. As the youngest mayor the town has ever seen, she wants to include the younger generations voice in that.
“Their ideas and their families are going to be here for a long time,” she signed.
She wants to show the deaf community greatness is possible.
“We can do everything else hearing people can do, we just can’t hear,” Folendorf signed.