AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Representation matters and for women in Amarillo, the first time they saw a woman as their mayor was in 2005.

Two-term City Commissioner Debra McCartt beat several other candidates in what she remembers as an upset win. In her first term as mayor she said she was handed her biggest task.

“My particular project was Katrina…We as a community came together. We learned from that. And there were so many women that were that were a part of that. And then maybe the Red Cross or maybe even the Police Department or the hospitals, we all came together to figure out how do we serve these people that are coming to us from New Orleans, and what can we do better in our community,” McCartt said.

Her path to leadership was through service.

“To this day I still enjoy helping folks and honestly if you don’t get started you’ll never know the goodness is going to be there the the the happiness it brings to yourself and how it helps others,” McCartt said, “So being a part of this community in a volunteer way is so critical. We can’t afford to pay every person in Amarillo, we need volunteers to step up and be to fill that gap

She was directly affected by the current public health crisis. She said both she and her husband of 15 years, Joe Bob McCartt caught COVID-19 in December. Joe Bob died on December 28th.

Mccart said that experience has encouraged her to redeem the time she has.

“I wish I could have been there. So many hundreds of 1000’s have gone through this and you never think it’s going to be you, you think you have plenty of more, plenty more plenty of time to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. Well, obviously that’s not true. And so today, we need to step out today and not wait till tomorrow because we don’t know what’s going to happen” McCartt said.