Shelia Stubbs Running for Re-Election to the 77th Assembly District
|Rep. Shelia Stubbs was elected to the Wisconsin
Assembly in 2018
elected to go to the Capitol, that would be a bill that I worked on. I actually went to the Capitol and wrote a bill that hasn’t passed. But at least I kept my word. And
that is also a part of the healing process for me as a victim of racial profiling. And I think that people realized that I just wasn’t going to give up. I was going to
submit this bill and I was just waiting to see what would happen. I had about 30 community leaders stand with me. I had an expert with me that day, former chief
Noble Wray. He actually helped me with the language from a federal perspective in terms of what I actually experienced, which was profiling by proxy or race out of
place. My mom, daughter and I were in an all-white community. And they felt uncomfortable because my race did not fit their norm and their surroundings.”
Another top priority for Stubbs is equity and inclusion in state government that she worked on with Governor Tony Evers. Stubbs wrote a companion bill to Evers’
executive order to set in motion efforts to ensure equity and diversity within state departments.
“Another bill that I was excited to go to work on was creating an Office of Equity and Inclusion, which is the work that I did on the county level,” Stubbs said. “It
would make sure that we have a representative at each state agency whose job would be called an equity specialist. There would also be a council of five people.
The governor would appoint the director and the other four people would be hired. Their jobs would be essential to working on training, perception and identifying the
strengths and weaknesses of their departments’ retention. They would write equity plans. They would tell us what their department make-up is and how we would
get them to where equity has been implemented. I was really excited about that bill. I was joined on that bill by Governor Evers, Lieutenant Barnes, DOA Secretary
Brennan and other cabinet-level members of the Governor’s administration.”
While the bill has yet to gain any consideration in the Republican-controlled Assembly, Evers was able to implement parts of it through executive order.
Stubbs feels that public education has been defunded on all levels and she would like to see that trend reversed.
“We need to increase funding for public education, especially funding for special education,” Stubbs said. “It is very, very necessary. As a former special ed
teacher, I was working for the Madison Metropolitan School District. I know the importance of funding for those who are in special education. We also need to have
more therapists, counselors and social workers so that we begin to address these issues from a human service perspective rather than a law enforcement
perspective. We need to increase funding for our colleges and universities as well. I sit on the college and university committee at the state level. We never have
enough money for our four-year colleges and universities. We know that there was a lot of funding removed from colleges and universities. It has been really hard
for them to manage how to continue to do the work they are doing with less money. We have to allocate more money for them so that they can come out of the red.”
Stubbs was also able to use the influence of her county board office to preserve a South Madison landmark.
“St. Paul United Holy Church on Fisher Street has tax delinquencies,” Stubbs said. “The county was getting ready to auction off the building. I learned about it and
reached out. I had a conversation with the pastor and was able to write a letter to the county treasurer and others to prevent the property from being auctioned. Why
is that important? It’s because it is a church in South Madison. It’s a great resource in South Madison. I didn’t know there was a tax lien on it because of the church
not being able to pay their taxes. They owned a parsonage right next door. Pastor Jackson bought it and was able to keep the church there. Why is that important? A
private real estate company had also reached out to me. They wanted to come into that space and build 12 apartment units. I said no. We have so many apartments
in South Madison right now. We need to build homeownership and homes. We don’t need more apartments. I stood up to a private developer and said no. I was not
going to support converting the space — the church — into an apartment building.”
Stubbs feels that she has done a good job of representing her district the past two years and that is why she is running unopposed. Yet there is more work to be
“I’ve been told that I am operating at a senior level as a legislator as opposed to a freshman-level legislator,” Stubbs said. “I have 15 years of experience. Every
moment of those years of experience made a difference at that Capitol. I had a very successful term. I was just named as taskforce co-chair of the racial disparities
taskforce and I am a freshman. So when you look at what I’ve done and the kind of work I’ve done, people notice. I’m a hard worker. I’m a pragmatic person. I
understand politics. I get it. At the end of the day, I do the walk and we need to do less talking. I’m honored to return to the Capitol and honored to work even harder
to prove to my constituents and myself that I am the right representative for this district.”
Stubbs is ready for round two in her fight to represent the people of the 77th Assembly District in January.
By Jonathan Gramling
In 2018, Shelia Stubbs became the first African American to represent Dane County in the Wisconsin
legislature when she won the 77th Assembly District. Now two years later, Stubbs had no challengers in
the Democratic primary and no Republican challenger in November. In essence, she won re-election the
day that she submitted her nomination papers.
Stubbs feels that the reason she has no challengers is that she has been working hard to represent the
people of her district even in the face of an uphill battle where the Republicans are in form control of the
State Assembly and State Senate and have a tendency to not pass any legislation at all.
“As you can see, we had a special session gaveled in and gaveled out, so none of those bills moved,
which are background checks and red flags,” Stubbs said about gun control legislation. “The Governor
requested it, but we were just sitting there. I did some stuff on women’s health and health care for all. As
you can see, we spent a session on health care, but I wasn’t able to get anything successfully done
there. We also worked on providing services for the vulnerable. Those are the areas that I still have as
priorities from the seven priorities that I started with. They are still relevant.”
Criminal justice reform is something near and dear to Stubbs heart as she served as a probation and
parole officer on Madison’s south side.
“The policy area with the highest priority will be criminal justice reform,” Stubbs said. “I consider myself
to be a champion in that area. And right now, one of the bills that I am working on is unnecessarily
summoning of police officers, which is my profile bill. When I was out knocking on doors in 2018, the
police were called on me, my mother and my eight-year-old daughter at the time. I decided that when I got