Former Lt. Governor candidate William Davis III announced his candidacy for the Wisconsin State Senate to represent District 26, a seat currently held by Democrat state Sen. Fred Risser, who has announced his retirement.
Davis, who ran against current Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes in 2018, is running a platform focused on — among many issues — disability, economic reform and increasing benefits for state employees.
“With my skills and strategic way of thinking, I can be the kind of State Senator who helps our most vulnerable citizens, including the homeless, veterans, low-wage workers — people whose voice is under-heard,” he said.
Davis knew at a young age that he wanted to be involved in politics.
“I wanted to be involved in politics since seventh grade because I saw the inequality that our poor have faced and I saw the state leadership focused on empowering the wealthy while sweeping our poor under the rug,” he said.
Davis, who grew up in Chicago, focuses his platform on disability rights due to his own impairment, essential tremors. Essential tremors is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. Since his diagnosis as a teen, Davis faced discrimination due to his disability.
“When you’re young and you want to do good, basic things in life, it hurts to get shot down, as I was,” he said.
His connection to Madison came from his birth father’s family, who lived in the city. Davis visited the city often to build a bond with his father’s family and saw “the corruption of the police officers being hired in Madison.”
“I saw the prejudiced arrests and pulling over minorities and the homeless of all ethnicities. Poor blacks and whites being harassed by law enforcement, being profiled, getting pulled over for no reason. I saw the poor and homeless beg for numerous incoming Democratic and Republican governors, representatives and senators only to be neglected and ignored,” he said.
And so in 2014, Davis moved to Madison to “get involved [in] representing the citizens of Wisconsin.”
“I wanted to be the blue wave politician that fought for the citizens,” he said.
Now, he hopes to make change as a state senator. Davis believes in expanding BadgerCare to “everyone who wants it.” BadgerCare is a health care coverage plan eligible for low-income Wisconsin residents. Davis wants to expand it statewide to include the National and Air National Guard, city and state law enforcement officers who make less than $50,000 a year, families of four or more children and disabled people who are denied federal medicaid.
Davis also believes in expanding the state’s health department research capabilities to do more on epidemics and treatments.
“The COVID-19 pandemic shows that we must be proactive in the future. Using the educational and research infrastructure of Madison and the state, I would work to expand the scope of the state’s health department, to do direct research on epidemics and expected treatments, so that Wisconsin can lead the response to the next pandemic,” he said.
As for economic reform, Davis wants to fight for marijuana legalization with regulation, which could generate revenue for the state. He also believes in taxing corporations, and wants to use those taxes to fund multiple projects aimed at housing and food assistance, increased wages for nurses and teachers, and fixing the quality of water and roads.
“I will fight for the legislation of $20/hour minimum wage for Wisconsin. We must expand state housing assistance.”
Davis also believes in increasing legislation for disabled people.
“I plan to pass an Emergency Disabled Act for our disbaled citizens, which will give people monthly aid when they face shortages in food or need help with necessities,” he said.
Running for office in Wisconsin has been a difficult journey for Davis, he said.
“Running for state senator and lieutenant governor in Wisconsin has shown me that we are still divided by skin color [with] prejudices among Democrats,” he said.
Davis is running in the Democratic primary against Kelda Roys, John Imes, Aisha Moe, Nada Elmikashfi and Brian Benford.
“As state senator, I will fight for citizens of Wisconsin [under] my campaign slogan ‘citizens first,’” he said.