Amber Huett-Garcia, the candidate for Tennessee’s House of Representatives, District 86, has revealed how her lengthy battle with obesity gave her the motivation to run for office.
In an essay for Teen Vogue, the 32-year-old mom-of-one, who gave birth to her daughter Parker in June 2016, shared that she once weighed 400 pounds, candidly admitting that ‘being big shaped my worldview’.
however, in 2010, Amber decided to undergo bariatric surgery, and has since lost almost 200 pounds.
Motivation: Amber Huett-Garcia, candidate for Tennessee’s House of Representatives, District 86, has revealed how her battle with her weight gave her the motivation to run for office
Fighter: The mom-of-one once weighed 400 pounds but has lost almost 200 pounds since undergoing bariatric surgery in 2010, pictured right with husband Matt
Fresh outlook: Amber shared in her essay that people now look at her differently and this attitude has motivated her to campaign against ‘weight-bias’
Currently the Memphis Director of development with Teach For America, Amber also detailed in her piece that strangers now treat her differently because she weighs less, and highlighted how on a recent flight, a ‘slender man’ made disparaging comments to her about another passenger ‘affected by obesity’.
Attitudes like these are her biggest motivators, says says.
‘What that man should know is that obesity is a chronic, incurable disease — not a personal choice,’ Amber noted. ‘Like all chronic diseases, the choices we make can help or hurt their successful management.
‘We can probably guess what the whispering man thinks when people with large bodies make decisions on his job, create laws he disagrees with, or maybe just share opinions on social media.’
She added: ‘When you believe obesity is a choice, you are more likely to dismiss the judgments and voices of people affected by it.’
Amber joined the Obesity Action Coalition in 2009 in an effort to advocate for the recognition of obesity as a disease, and in 2016 was welcomed as the New Boards Chairwoman.
Battle: Amber joined the Obesity Action Coalition in 2009 in an effort to advocate for the recognition of obesity as a disease
Mom life: Amber gave birth to her daughter Parker in June 2016
Change: She believes people need to stop viewing obesity as a ‘personal choice’ and that obesity-bias prevents many people from getting jobs
Leader: Amber also called for ‘leaders who are mad and ready to change the system’ in her piece and is using her own experience to fuel her campaign
She also began lobbying Washington, D.C., for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and, after hearing the testimony of nearly 60,000 community members as the most recent chairwoman of the Obesity Action Coalition, Amber has decided to tackle the issue of ‘weight bias’ head on by running for office.
‘Bias is keeping us from promotions in the workplace (especially women), keeping us from accessing evidenced-based treatment, and it is determining the interactions we have with medical professionals. (Raise your hand if a doctor has made you cry!)’, she wrote.
The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act is a bi-partisan approach to provide direction to the Department of Health and Human Services on providing reimbursement to health practitioners for obesity intervention, counselling and prescription drug treatment.t.
She also revealed that by running for office, she is hoping to ‘write new endings to the stories about power, place and politics’ and reduce the number of people who have ‘nearly died because no one would listen to them.’
‘Students and families are facing systemic barriers and we need leaders who are mad and ready to change the system,’ she added.