'We have the greatest people’: District 2 councilwoman plans to beautify and unite the East Side

Jada Andrews-Sullivan plans to bring new economic development to District 2

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio’s District 2 is one of the most culturally diverse areas of the city.

The district includes the East Side, which has some of the higher poverty and crime rates in the city. But the newly elected councilwoman of District 2, Jada Andrews-Sullivan, hopes to flip the narrative.

In this week’s Leading SA, we hear from Andrews-Sullivan, who said she plans to bring new economic development, beautification and a sense of realism to the district she was raised in and now represents.

“My one specific goal is to bring unity to our community. And that starts by me getting out to all of the people who said ‘You’re not supposed to be here’ and help them understand that we’re here not only for a specific few, but we’re here for everyone,” said Andrews-Sullivan. “... We get a lot of the bad stigma, but we get a lot of the bad press. But truly, we have the richest culture. We have the greatest people. We have gifts that have not been tapped into."

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Andrews-Sullivan has big plans for District 2 and, less than a year in, she is not wasting any time.

“We put our boots on the ground, get to work, put our hands on the ground, pick up the trash in our community. [It] brings about a sense of understanding that we’re not just here to be in the seat. We’re here to truly do the work,” said Andrews-Sullivan.

One of the main priorities she set for 2020 is to bring business and money to the area.

“Once we start looking at those economic development aspects and not just the big corporations that can bring in the multi-millions, but truly look at how do we change a life, one life at a time, that's when we start making an impact on economic development,” said Andrews-Sullivan.

The councilwoman said the East Side has too much to offer for companies not to move in.

“We need more tech-savvy companies coming in. We have the microbiology coming in. And so that is amazing. Let’s get our kids into health-conscious understanding of what it means to go into this health field,” said Andrews-Sullivan.

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As a leader in San Antonio, she’s aiming to make District 2 a safer place. Andrews-Sullivan, a veteran, knows she can’t just police the problems away.

“And so we reach out to our faith base. We reach out to our civic leaders. We reach out to our economic leaders. We reach out to our school districts. It takes all of us. We need to get back to the rhetoric of it really does take a village,” Andrews-Sullivan said.

Gun violence is a big problem on the East Side. Andrews-Sullivan and other council members proposed the idea of a gun buyback program last year, but after the idea received push back, they are now working on a more expansive proposal, she said.

“We’re looking more to change the rhetoric of no longer just gun buyback... If you know something is going on, do something,” said Andrews-Sullivan.

There are also issues of infrastructure, education, and transportation that the councilwoman has plans to address.

“It’s more of a holistic approach for District 2. It’s not just a one-size-fits-all,” Andrews-Sullivan said.

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