ANGELS CAMP, CA (KTXL/CNN) – This northern California town has a brand-new mayor. She’s 31-year-old Amanda Folendorf.
Not only is she the youngest mayor the city has ever had, Folendorf is the first deaf female major in the United States.
“It’s an honor to be seen in that leadership role,” she said.
Folendorf lost her hearing as a baby.
She was born with a diaphragmatic hernia – a rare birth defect in the muscle between her chest and abdomen – and the medicine she took to save her life damaged her hearing.
Folendorf can speak, but simultaneously signed her interview to illustrate the value of American Sign Language.
“I see it as my superpower,” she said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to use.”
But those superpowers don’t protect her from everything. Because of her age and hearing loss, people have their doubts.
“Takes a lot of confidence to stand up in front of those people and say, ‘Yes I can,'” she said.
Keeping up can be a challenge at city council meetings, but Folendorf has two sign language interpreters to help her.
She wants to show the deaf community that greatness is possible.
“We can do everything else hearing people can do,” Folendorf said. “We just can’t hear.”
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