Go-Getter Councilwoman Checks Off Ambitious Goals on Her Bucket List
Brandy Hart Amidon ('02) says she can't dance. But she definitely seems to excel at everything else.
Take local politics, for example.The North Greenville University alumna first ran for city council in her hometown Travelers Rest, S.C., in 2009. At the age of 27, Amidon became the youngest woman in the city's history to win a seat.
Back then, Travelers Rest had only just begun to see the signs of a coming revitalization, which the debut of the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail helped to accelerate. The trail served to attract new businesses all along the once-dilapidated Main Street in Travelers Rest, as well as to spur on an economic growth spurt unparalleled in the city's history.
During her nearly six years on council so far, Amidon has used her financial expertise to provide budgetary guidance for the city during this critical time. She has also focused on being a "cheerleader" for local businesses, she says, and promoting healthy growth for the city.
Other similar Carolina communities - such as Calhoun Falls and Enka-Candler - have mentioned in recent days that they look to Travelers Rest as a role model for bringing new life to a sleepy downtown.
"On the local level, every decision makes a direct impact. You can see change so quickly," says Amidon.
Even small changes matter to Amidon. One day when a local resident noticed that a streetlight in her neighborhood had gone out, she found Amidon's old campaign postcard and gave her a call. Amidon ensured that the light was repaired within 24 hours.
"She felt like she could call me and I could help her. She needed something done, and we did it," says Amidon. "I always remember that."
Amidon's Christian faith keeps her in "servant mode," she says, even when other residents call to complain or argue.
"Everything that you do might not have an immediate payback, a golden ticket. But it's going to come back to you in twofold," says Amidon.
Amidon's servant-minded approach came back to her in the November 2015 election, where she racked up enough votes to earn a third term as councilwoman for the City of Travelers Rest. In fact, Amidon received more votes than any other candidate, according to The Travelers Rest Tribune.
Then in January 2016, Travelers Rest City Council and current Mayor Wayne McCall voted Amidon in as mayor pro tem.
Yet Amidon applies her take-action spirit to much more than local politics. City government is only a side project to her full-time career, after all.
After graduating from NGU as an accounting major, Amidon started working at Carolina First as a banker, while studying to earn her certified public accountant designation.
She eventually went on to start her own business as an independent chief financial officer in 2008, servicing Greenville area enterprises like marketing agency Brains on Fire and The Dental Retreat at Mountain Park.
Between crunching numbers and participating in local politics, Amidon still finds time to manage her roles as wife to her husband Steven and stay-at-home mom to her toddler.
"Annabelle goes with me everywhere. I have people tell me she's community property of Travelers Rest," Amidon says.
For leisure, Amidon serves as a community volunteer. She helped found Let's Keep TR Beautiful in 2012, a local volunteer group that organizes cleanups and beautification efforts around Travelers Rest throughout the year.
Recently, Amidon earned grant money for the group to erect chalkboard Before I Die walls both in local schools and in public places in Travelers Rest. On the main wall at the center of town, pedestrians and cyclists could stop to write their life's goals - an item or two from their bucket lists.
"I've always had a mental bucket list of things I wanted to do: go to Ireland, be a mom, start my own business, invent something, teach, run for office," says Amidon. "It's at the forefront of what I think about."
Amidon has already checked off each of those ambitious goals. In fact, she's currently waiting for the patent on her yet-to-be-revealed invention.
So what could possibly come next for this accomplished local politician, accountant, homemaker, and volunteer?
"What I haven't done yet is learn to dance. I can't do a two-step," says Amidon.
If she continues down her bucket list at this rate, then look for her on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.
(Image credit: Used with permission from The Travelers Rest Tribune
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