I feel if your staff was to interview Amanda it would make for a great success story for your readers and aspiring law students. Amanda is one of the most honest, responsible, and loving persons I have ever met (I know I'm a little biased).
Why did you decide to go to law school?
After graduating from college, I worked for my county Child Protective Services as a social worker and one of my duties was to appear in court on all our Dependency cases. I loved the experience. I was in court one day when the judge asked me when I was going to law school. Now my father is an attorney and any time someone asked me what I wanted to do when I was growing up, I always replied, "Anything but be a lawyer." So I laughed when the judge asked me about law school.
Heavenly Father had a different plan. He kept me in the courtroom for two years and gave me a taste for the law. I prayed and prayed and finally agreed to apply to just one law school, hoping that I would not be accepted but then I could say I tried. You guessed it, I got accepted. And I will be eternally grateful. I love the law. I love litigation. I love what I do.
What attracted you to work at the County District Attorney's office?
The job of a district attorney is to ensure justice. That boils down to choosing the right. I loved having the discretion to read a case, gauge the merits of the case, and decide what the best possible result would be to serve justice. I also love litigation and attorneys in the DA's office get to be in court almost every single day. To me, that is what being a lawyer is all about.
How do you like private practice?
I really enjoy the flexibility of private practice, as well as the opportunity to work with actual clients. It is fascinating to see both sides of the criminal law system and recognize the incredibly valuable work that both prosecutors and defense attorneys do.
Why are you running for County District Attorney?
I am running for District Attorney because I feel strongly that I have been blessed immeasurably in both my life and career. I have been given the strengths and tools to do good. My county's DA's office needs change for good, particularly a strong leader who will restore integrity to the office. I grew up here, met my husband when he was stationed here in the Air Force, and we are raising our five children here.
The people I live with, my friends, neighbors, and peers, deserve better than an office that doesn't require integrity or competency. We deserve a DA's office that strives for justice, that protects our people, our property, and our children. We don't have that right now in my county. I'm ready to make a change. I believe that there are times we all must fight for what is right, what is just, and I'm doing that.
How have you been able to balance work, church and community responsibilities?
Balance is such a subjective word. I like to think that I just thrive on chaos. My children are ages 9, 7, 3, 5 and 1. I volunteer at their school and serve with the PTA board. I am going on my third year as Primary President to the greatest group of kids in the world. I have a private criminal defense law practice focusing on juvenile law. My husband is a full-time sheriff's deputy, and we have two dogs and a bunny. I have wonderful friends that I like to craft with and take my kids on play dates. My husband I love date nights. I even clean my own house and we do our own yard work. Like I said, I thrive on chaos.
I have great faith that our Heavenly Father will not ask more of us than we can accomplish. He has given me wonderful and goodly parents who are even more wonderful grandparents. They have said repeatedly that their main contribution to my campaign is all the free babysitting. They are supportive and helpful.
I set my priorities a long time ago. My faith and my family come first. Always. I try to arrange my schedule, and am mostly successful, so that I am able to pick my children up from school. I free up that time so that I can do homework with them, read and play with them, make dinner, and get them settled for bed. There are many nights that I up late prepping for court the next day or writing motions or folding laundry or mopping floors. I often read my sharing time outline for the week on my phone in court. And even though I sometimes feel overwhelmed and I frequently feel insanely busy, I always know how lucky I am.
I have been blessed with an amazing husband who loves me, five gorgeous children whose smiles melt my heart, a rewarding and challenging career, friends and family I adore, and most importantly, I have the restored Gospel in my life. I know my Savior loves me and will guide and uplift me when I can't do it on my own. I know that my family will be together forever. So even on my craziest days, what more could I ask for? I have it all.
What advice would you give to female law students graduating this year?
Don't limit yourself. Take prayerful advantage of every opportunity. Live to the fullest. And enjoy it! I practice criminal law because I love it. I've tried other areas of the law and they weren't for me. I live in a small town because I can go from my house to the courthouse or to my kids' school in less than ten minutes and I love it. Do what you love and give back when you can. You're entering a great and noble profession. Be the best you can and always remember your priorities.