From an early age, native Austinite Andrea Cunningham envisioned playing a role in government.
During her high school years, Cunningham served as a volunteer at her local polling station, even though she wasn’t old enough to cast a ballot at the time. She later did a “tiny” bit of work with campaigns for late Gov. Ann Richards and for Kinky Friedman.
There was a time when Cunningham held aspirations of possibly running for the County Clerk seat.
But Cunningham soon discovered working as a civil servant within government could offer a more lasting impact on citizens. Years later, Cunningham, now city secretary with the city of Dripping Springs, takes pride in giving residents the insight they need to the town they live in.
“I love government and I love helping people get the most out of their government, because they pay for us,” Cunningham said.
As city secretary, Cunningham fulfills various tasks, which includes receiving and answering public information requests from residents. Other jobs include crafting agendas, writing meeting minutes, as well as working as the city’s records manager and municipal court clerk.
Cunningham, who graduated with a degree in history, entered the field as an intern with the city of Kyle. She later worked as an assistant city secretary in Kyle prior to her hire with Dripping Springs.
While at Kyle, Cunningham worked with Chief of Staff Jerry Hendrix, who was a “jack of all trades” and introduced her to all levels of a city government.
For Cunningham, transparency is her passion, as she seeks to help residents understand and get the most out of their government.
She enjoys the feeling when residents finally understand what is going on with their local government and understand how certain processes work.
“When someone understands how things work, they’re more empowered to have a say,” Cunningham said. “They are coming from more solid ground. They’re getting their voices heard.”
Editor’s note: Last week, we incorrectly ran an unedited version of Andrea Cunningham’s Citizen of the Year story that had several notes that should not have been included. We sincerely apologize for the error. We opted to rerun the story in its entirety in order to honor the work put in by Cunningham, who was a nominee for our COTY campaign.