Courtesy Leah Stokes

In August, President Joe Biden signed historic legislation to address the climate emergency, taking action to significantly lower emissions by 2030. Leah Stokes, a political-­science professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was a power­house contributor to this effort. Leah is a thoughtful leader, researcher, expert communicator, and organizer all rolled into one dynamic—and very fun—person.

As we worked on the legislation, she provided invaluable insight on the policy. She helped build the coalitions and grassroots power to get the bill passed. And she recognized that one of the most efficient ways to reduce emissions is to clean up our electric sector, and then use that cleaner electricity to power our homes, transportation, and industry. She grasped both the policy and the politics, and she never gave up.

Whether you see her on MSNBC or at an academic meeting, Leah’s commonsense thinking will blow you away. She has an uncanny capacity to translate scientific facts into language anyone can understand. Her work over the past two years has been instrumental in gathering people from the environmental movement, academia, and the clean-energy sector to work together for change. We’ll experience the results of her remarkable leadership for decades to come.

Smith, a Democrat, is a Senator for Minnesota

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