By Zach Sparks
Amanda Fiedler almost didn’t live to see the day when she would become the next county council representative for District 5.
While giving birth to her third son, Zachary, in 2011, she suffered a hemorrhage and needed 11 units of blood and four platelet transfusions. That experience led her to start a fundraiser for Anne Arundel Medical Center, which saved the lives of her and her son. For seven years, the event has raised money for the neonatal intensive care unit and given the hospital a network of blood donors.
That experience also compelled her to run for political office — a successful campaign after defeating incumbent Republican Michael Peroutka in June’s primary and Democrat Dawn Myers in the general election on November 6.
“I wanted to serve a better and larger and bigger purpose than what I was doing before,” Fiedler said. “So it started little with the nonprofit I created under the umbrella of Anne Arundel Medical Center, and I just really was fulfilled by the feedback I was getting from the community. People were coming to me with problems as I expanded my leadership in our county, and it just evolved from there very organically.”
Fiedler believes in conservative spending, limited taxes and small government. But, as the PTO president for Broadneck Elementary, she wants to see better pay for teachers and the hiring of more educators and mental health professionals.
“When you have young children and they unfortunately aren’t able to get the attention that they need in the classroom because of the class size, that’s not the families’ fault, that’s not the teachers’ fault. It all comes down to numbers,” said Fiedler, a Broadneck High School alumna. “I think people are willing to be OK with a ceiling tile missing in a gymnasium if they have a decent size class-student-teacher ratio.”
People won’t be OK with more overdevelopment and a heavier burden on the county’s current infrastructure. Fiedler expects the General Development Plan to be proceeded by an “intensive and collaborative process” that is transparent. She hopes it will include Small Area Plans. Each rezoning request, she said, should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
“I have committed to my constituents, as I’ve been knocking on doors, to personally walking any of those properties that are in District 5, and I’m even open to walking properties outside of District 5 if necessary, to get an idea of what that property looks like, what the upzoning request is, how that will impact the community,” she said. “It’s talking to the landowners as well to see if there’s a compromise that they are able to still develop their land that they want to but the impact is not there for existing communities.”
What kind of impact will Fiedler make on Severna Park and the Broadneck peninsula? If it’s as widespread as her work with education, the community will be in good hands.
“Amanda is extremely dedicated to strengthening not only the Broadneck Elementary School community but the entire community on the Broadneck peninsula,” said the school’s PTO treasurer, Emily Van Oudenaren. “Day in and day out, she juggles her work, family and life just to make a difference in my children’s life. It is truly commendable.”
Following the election in November, the council underwent major changes. Only one member, Andrew Pruski of District 4, is entering a second term. The council features five women after having none since the departures of Cathy Vitale and Tricia Johnson in 2010. The council also has a 4-3 Democrat majority after having a 4-3 Republican majority the last eight years.
Fiedler doesn’t see the changes as an obstacle to prosperity. She’s lucky to be alive and fortunate to represent District 5.
“I think it’s pretty telling when you look at the makeup of the council, there is not I don’t think between the seven of us — Mr. Pruski excluded because he’s an incumbent — there’s not a career politician in the mix in my opinion,” Fiedler said. “We all have such diverse backgrounds and diverse levels of involvement in the community. I’m excited to see where we go. And normal, everyday people ran for office and ran elections and that’s pretty powerful.”