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 enjoys 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.
Amáda Márquez Simula is the Mayor Elect of Columbia Heights where she continues to represent our diverse communities and breathe new life into the city.