#PolicyProfile: Austin Edwards MPP ’23
“My parents instilled in me the value of giving back to the community, not just in our home but also through our church. I was born in Trenton and saw some of the issues that are fairly normal in an inner city, a lot involving poverty. The symptoms include homelessness and food insecurity, but a lot of it stems from economic instability. I volunteered to address these issues, directly and indirectly, by feeding people, clothing people, and dealing with homelessness.
Being involved in those spaces really gave me the empathy and understanding that I need to do something to help others. I wanted to gain whatever education I could and bring it back here so I could be a benefit to society."Austin Edwards
I went to college at Howard University and eventually Howard Law, before gaining experience in Washington, D.C., working on Capitol Hill, for various federal alphabet agencies, for the U.S. Coast Guard, and in the judicial system. I moved back to Trenton and worked at the Attorney General's office, first working on economic issues such as financial fraud and litigation issues. I then became involved with police reform, accountability, and community policing. Those experiences were spectacular, and I learned a lot, but through these experiences and opportunities, I solidified that my passion lies in direct experiences with people and directly serving the community.
I don’t want to just be in an ivory tower and dictating policies down to people. What I really enjoyed was the hands-on, face-to-face interaction I get when I'm able to help somebody out and make their day even a little bit better. I know that direct work will probably lead me to either the nonprofit space, creating legislation, possibly lobbying, or possibly even going into elected office and serving people that way. No matter what I do, I know I'm going to be motivated to help those who need help. New Jersey is where my heart lies and where I hope to be. I’m excited to see where the future takes me. Wherever I'm led, as long as I'm serving, I know I'll be happy.”