Abigail St. Valle, a recent college graduate who lives in Brooks, is thinking about what kind of world she wants for the children she hopes to have one day.

A Bernie Sanders supporter in the last presidential election, her political path has been a winding one. Raised in a conservative home – a farmer’s daughter – she went off to college as a registered Republican and was active with the Young Republicans.

Attending the University of Maine “opened my eyes to a world view, different walks of life,” said St. Valle, a 26-year-old one-time Blueberry Queen who became a registered Democrat. She fell in love and married a black man. She was inspired to get involved in politics by the campaign of Sanders, the independent Vermont U.S. senator who lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016, but galvanized disenchanted young voters in the process.

“After his campaign, I realized, as a young woman, I would be eligible for a position (in politics,)” she said. “Before that, I didn’t feel empowered to take that position.

“Listening to him gave me the motivation.”

As a candidate, Abilgail St. Valle says she cares about net neutrality, affordable housing, health care and equal pay. Photo courtesy of Abigail St. Valle

Now, the surge of women running for office “definitely encouraged me to run.”

As a candidate, she cares about net neutrality, affordable housing, health care and equal pay.

It’s up to her, St. Valle says, to help create the kind of world she wants for an interracial child.

“I’m standing up for my own beliefs and being a strong woman,” she said.

“And getting out there and not being afraid.”