Women Who Inspire Me: Anna Zmistowski

For my “Women Who Inspire Me” series, I interviewed four strong women who came from different backgrounds and disciplines, but they shared two things in common -- they were young, college women dedicated to making a change. For the final interview of my “Women Who Inspire Me” series, I interviewed Anna Zmistowski, a confident young woman dedicated to reforming the Republican Party. 

Anna Zmistowski is a political science student in her senior year at the University of Maine and is extremely dedicated to her field of study. She has participated in various political movements and activities on and off-campus, while also leading many independently.  Amid her success, some of these are controversial within the Maine Republican Party. 

Recently, Anna made her political mark when she founded the New University of Maine College Republicans. This new student organization serves as a stark contrast to the group who are now referred to as The University of Maine Constitutional Republicans. Anna’s new organization focuses mostly on party involvement and political activism. She hopes to get young people more involved with the Republican party in a healthy, active way that doesn’t involve putting other people down. The New College Republicans also want to focus less on reactionary memes and social media posts, and rebuild their image within the Republican party. 

On the other hand, The University of Maine Constitutional Republicans seem to have a different mission. This group has found themselves in a multitude of controversies, including an inflammatory post about Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday party with xenophobic themes, and a "Straight Pride" post they made during LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Such controversies were met with a strong backlash from several people, including Anna herself. 

Anna says their “Straight Pride” post was what initially sparked her interest in reforming the Republican Community on the University of Maine campus. She felt as if this post did not represent the vast majority of Republicans’ views. Zmistowski also adds that this made her come to a realization that a wider scope of Republicans should be represented on the University of Maine campus -- hence why she created her group in the first place.

“[The UMaine Constitutional Republicans] represent a very ‘Trump’ view of republican politics, and I feel like [The UMaine College Republicans] represents a much larger view of Republican politics, that also includes that, but it’s more encompassing,” Zmistowski explains. 

    Moreover, Zmistowski also hopes to encourage bipartisanship within the political sphere. Anna believes that both parties are more productive when they work together. She also believes that the two political parties were established to uphold the practice of bipartisanship and balance each other out. 

    “I think [bipartisanship is] so needed in our country right now. I think there exist two political extremes for a reason because they’re supposed to balance each other out. And that’s where bipartisanship comes in. That’s a critical role it has to play in policy, going forward,” Zmistowski says.

    Another reason why Zmistowski believes so firmly in bipartisanship is because of her family. It’s important to note that Anna was raised by parents with differing political views. Her mom is a Republican, while her dad is a Democrat. Throughout her life, Anna witnessed her parents discuss their political views in a civil manner. She also noticed that, despite her parents’ being in different parties, they still agreed on many issues. The exposure to different political views from such a young age helped Anna learn the value of bipartisanship in politics. 

    “My dad’s a Democrat, my mom’s a Republican. The funny thing is, they see very similarly on social issues. It’s more fiscally, that they don’t...agree...which has always been very funny to me. There is more agreement between them than they realize because they do tend to support the same social issues, but when it comes to capitalism, my mom is much more capitalist and my dad is much more, ‘whatever works!’” Zmistowski notes.

    Of course, Anna is interested in a variety of other things besides politics. She is currently the director of Camp Kesem at the University of Maine, as well as a member of the University of Maine’s Pre-Law Society and an avid lover of the Maine coast. 

Anna Zmistowski is a kind and powerful woman. She believes in political efficiency, but she also believes in equity and bipartisanship. She is always willing to see the other side and hear other people out. Anna’s political activism plays a critical role in reforming the Republican Party, especially on the University of Maine Campus.