Amanda Dewey is Berwyn Height’s newest Town Council member, appointed earlier this summer after former Mayor Chris Rasmussen resigned for a new job in Colorado. Per the town’s charter, then-Mayor Pro Tem Lynn White assumed the Mayor’s office, leaving a vacancy on Town Council, which was filled by appointment. Dewey joins a Town Council that is dealing with the aftermath of Mayor White’s controversial refusal to sign documents to authorize more than $1 million in loans. Route 1 Reporter caught up with Dewey this past week to learn more about her policy interests and history of civic involvement.
Name: Amanda Dewey
Position: Berwyn Heights Town Councilor
Hometown: Saint Charles, Missouri
Years lived in Berwyn Heights: More than three years
Current occupation: Doctoral student and instructor at the University of Maryland’s department of Sociology.
Route 1 Reporter: What brought you to Berywn Heights? Amanda Dewey: I moved to the Berwyn Heights after my Husband and I had lived in Maryland for a couple of years prior. I was beginning a new position at the University of Maryland, and I wanted something close by. We found our house and the neighborhood looked great. We quickly realized we had hit the jackpot, so to speak.
What areas do you research in your professional studies? I’m in-between projects right now, but previously I’ve studied the social psychology of participation in the environmental movement and what brings people to participate in the environmental movement. The last study I did focused on participation in the Climate March.
What is your background in local politics? I have no background specifically in local politics other than being engaged in Berwyn Heights. I started working on the Berwyn Heights Green Team immediately after moving to town. It was started by Sustainable Maryland. As a facilitator of that organization, I was partnering with town staff on grant applications to facilitate – or support – partnerships between the University and the town. I got involved in that way, so when the vacancy opened up, I thought it’d be a good opportunity.
Do you serve as the board member or executive of any corporations or organizations? I serve as the vice-chair of the board of directors for a group called the Endangered Species Coalition.
What areas of local policy interest you? There’s a few things most interesting to me. I started with the Green Team, so sustainability issues are really important to me. I am interested in urban forests and tree canopy issues. Additionally, I think this is more general, but I think the most-important challenge facing our town is resident engagement and trying to find ways to reach the citizens of our town. We have a heavy volunteer community in our town. That means things from a communication side of things, and relates to transparency. I think we do a pretty good job of that, but it is important to communicate with our residents in the most effective way possible.
What is your primary mode of transportation? That depends. I most-often commute to work by bike. I have a car that my husband and I use, and I use the Metro to go downtown as much as possible.
How often do you bicycle? I typically cycle, it varies, on average to work two to three times per week. I also bike recreationally on the weekends.
How often do you take public transit in a typical week? It varies so much for me. There are many weeks when I don’t, when I am only commuting to and from the campus.