Making Progress in Our City
Here are just a few of the ways Columbia Heights has improved since I took office.
The city has relieved the finance department by hiring a full time IT director. Immediate improvements include laptops, digital backups, and paperless systems. This smart decision is bringing our technology into the 21st century and preparing our systems to move into the new city hall.
Easier access to services
Utility billing has implemented automatic online payments. Notifications about snow emergencies, hydrant flushing, and other important information are now available by phone, text, or email via the city’s new CodeRED system. The city has hired a full time Community Engagement Specialist.
Modernized public safety
The city has received a grant to add a social worker to the police department. This new addition has been a resounding success in 2022, and we are working to add a second social worker in 2023. I have assembled a Rapid Response Team to make sure citizens will always have a way to safely assemble and protest if needed.
The city has now eliminated the sale of flavored tobacco products from stores where children can make purchases. Renters now have access to information and meetings that were previously limited to landlords. During the height of the pandemic, I worked to extend the mask mandate.
Thriving local businesses
I frequently visit and support local businesses and promote them on social media. Because of this, business owners have felt comfortable asking me to help them navigate difficult city matters, such as parking.
The American Dream
Columbia Heights is one of the most diverse cities in Minnesota. Since taking office, I have helped two people become US citizens. This includes reuniting a family that was separated internationally. As Mayor, I have no power to make these changes. I simply saw opportunities to connect people with the resources they needed.
The government was built to benefit some people more than others. We need more representative government and city staff, specifically more Black and brown people in these roles. Creating a balanced and just system is difficult and will take generations. I regularly meet with various cultural leaders, community groups, other elected officials of color for support and long-term strategies. If you want to represent your community in Columbia Heights, please contact me so I can help.
Your community organizer
Amáda is widely recognized as an active leader in Columbia Heights. You may have attended one of the Community Education events she arranged for our school. Perhaps you met her volunteering at one of the many community service projects she organized. Maybe you saw her on the news speaking out against prejudice. Or maybe she came right to your door in a public works uniform delivering a kitchen compost kit. However you know Amada, you can be sure she has never stopped working for the people of Columbia Heights.
Community Involvement BEFORE Taking Office
- Columbia Heights Public Schools Community Education Advisory Board Member
- Columbia Heights Business Council
- Columbia Heights Lions Club Member
- Fridley-Columbia Heights Rotary Club Member
- Columbia Heights Sister Cities Member
- HeightsNEXT Board Member and past President
- Columbia Heights Neighborhood Watch Block Captain
- Alexandra House Development Committee Member
- DFL Central Committee in Senate District 39
- League of Women Voters member
- Girl Scout Council Trainer and Troop Leader for 13+ years
- St. Philip’s Church meal delivery to homebound people
- SACA grocery delivery to homebound people
- The Every Meal Program weekend backpack meals for school children
- Good News in Columbia Heights YouTube series
- Past City of Columbia Heights Public Works Employee
- Past Manager of the Columbia Heights Public Schools Adult Enrichment & Senior Program
- Past Columbia Heights Public School District Finance Committee Member
- 2017 Columbia Heights Humanitarian of the Year
- Minnesota Superheroes United – Wonder Woman!
Additional Community Involvement SINCE Taking Office
- Columbia Heights Traffic Commission
- Columbia Heights Economic Development Authority
- Columbia Heights Multicultural Advisory Committee
- Regional Council of Mayors
- Regional Council of Mayors Allies of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- League of Minnesota Cities
- Minnesota Metropolitan Council
- Minnesota BIPOC Elected Leaders
- Minneapolis Network Next
- Minnesota Climate Caucus
- Mayors Meetups with Representative Ilhan Omar
- West Metro Progressive Officials
Less than minimum wage
Did you know? If the Mayor’s role was 40 hours a week, it would pay only $6.63 per hour. However, the actual hours are much longer, and the responsibilities are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Mayor has no assistant on staff.
Amáda Márquez Simula was born in Madison, Wisconsin to a working-class family with big ideas about the future. Her mother’s German and French roots are typical of the Wisconsin countryside. Her father was a childhood immigrant from Mexico. Together, they saved up enough to buy a struggling restaurant and pass it on to their children. Amáda and her two brothers breathed new life into the establishment, transforming it into one of the most successful venues in the area.
Even among Latinos, Amáda is an uncommon name from a bygone era. In Spanish, it means “beloved”, though colloquially the word is often used like “sweetheart” or “darling”.
From an early age, Amáda was a natural artist and entertainer. Much of her youth was spent listening to her father performing in hometown bands. Her deep love of music spans centuries and genres. She was never afraid to create a costume, sing into a microphone, pose for a camera, or dance in a spotlight. But much like her family, Amáda was not content with small ideas, and soon found herself acting in plays, cheerleading for crowds, performing with bands, organizing dance troupes, and building audiences for concerts and art shows about town.
When it came time to have a family of her own, Amáda was living in Edina, Minnesota. As a Latina, she was sometimes mistaken for the nanny. But this never stopped her from gathering crowds, marching in parades, organizing church fundraisers, or becoming the District Organizer and Leadership Trainer for the Girl Scouts. Amáda was proud to campaign for Paul Wellstone and remains focused on issues about our local, state, and national government.
Amáda came to Columbia Heights when she married her husband. Together, they are musicians, neighborhood block captains, Lions, Rotarians, and community organizers. Amáda has worked for the Columbia Heights Public Works department, helping grow the city’s compost program. She made a dramatic impact in her role as the Columbia Heights Community Education Program Manager, serves on its Advisory Board, and also holds a seat on the school district’s Finance Committee. Amáda was also the President of HeightsNEXT, a sustainable community movement, where she continues to organize and lead dozens of annual events for Columbia Heights, including street cleanups, environmental projects, cultural gatherings, community celebrations, and much more. She was named the 2017 Columbia Heights Humanitarian of the Year for her service to the city.
Welcoming, rallying, inspiring, and activating teams of people from all walks of life is Amáda’s greatest talent. She is frequently recognized for bridging generations and ideas, turning informed possibilities into creative solutions, and renewing a community that has often felt stagnant, abandoned, and divided.
Today, Amáda Márquez Simula is the Mayor of Columbia Heights where she continues to represent our diverse communities and breathe new life into the city.