In honor of Earth Day, WC member Abigail Smith will be leading our April 29 meeting on the environment. This month we chatted with her about why she’s a Democrat, what she’s reading and what she always brings back from the US. Here’s what she had to say.
Name: Abigail Smith
Votes in: Ohio
Years in UK: 2
Joined Women’s Caucus: March 2018
Occupation: Renewable energy analyst
When did you become politically active?
It’s something that’s been on my horizon since I was a kid. My mom is a public school teacher so I can recall many local elections where she was campaigning and knocking on doors to encourage people to get out to vote for the school levy. I used to vote with my parents at the crack of dawn and wear their “I voted” sticker to school. The ’08 election is the first I can recall really following and feeling energized by.
Why are you a Democrat?
I’m a Democrat I believe that healthcare, livable wages, housing, education, clean air and water (and so many more) are fundamental human rights, and leaving things in the hands of privately interested corporations will not protect our country’s well-being and safety, nor allow us to prosper.
“Hearing the remarkable stories of these women sparked my own passion for environmental justice, which is something I would consider to be one of my core values today; that clean air and clean water should be a human right in every single community.”
What prominent woman role model do you admire and why?
This is a tough one because there are so many amazing women I admire. I’d have to say the bold women who fearlessly defended their communities when they were faced with life threatening environmental injustices. Lois Gibbs from Love Canal, NY or LeeAnne Walters from Flint, MI are two such leaders who come to mind. These women fought tirelessly for the health and safety of their families and communities when the government was turning their backs on them. Hearing the remarkable stories of these women sparked my own passion for environmental justice, which is something I would consider to be one of my core values today; that clean air and clean water should be a human right in every single community.
If you could change one thing about US politics, what would it be?
Campaign finance reform, campaign finance reform, and Mitch McConnell.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Anything outdoors — hiking, running, eating my way through the food markets in London, gardening, reading, and recently my flat mate and I have discovered a love for jigsaw puzzles, exciting stuff! Sharing a home cooked meal with my friends and partner is another love of mine. In the moments in between, I always have headphones in to listen to music or catch up on podcasts.
Have you read any good books lately?
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. War on Peace by Ronan Farrow. And I’m looking forward to my next read, courtesy of the WC Book Club, Minority Leader: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams.
What do you bring back to the UK from the US?
Peanut butter cups.
When you’re in the UK, what do you miss most about the US — and when you’re in the US, what do you miss most about the UK?
In the UK, I miss my family, friends and American spelling. In the US, I miss well-designed public transportation systems.