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Education, equity, and criminal justice reform are key issues for State Rep. Shelia Stubbs in her campaign for 78th Assembly District

State Rep. Shelia Stubbs

With new state legislative maps signed into law at the end of the 2023-24 legislative floor session, many lawmakers who have gotten to know the people and the communities in their home districts are now on the move and have been forced to meet new constituents who may have a different set of issues and concerns.

State Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D–Madison) is one of those legislators. Stubbs, who formerly represented the 77th district since 2018, recently announced her candidacy for the 78th District in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

 “All of our districts have moved one way or another with the new maps … some more than others,” Stubbs tells Madison365. “Fair maps are exactly what we’ve heard people across the state of Wisconsin say they wanted because we have been gerrymandered the worst in the nation. But the new maps did change my district drastically.”

Wisconsin’s new 78th Assembly District

As a result of Act 94, which has created new legislative maps for Wisconsin, Stubbs will be running in a new district that still represents her beloved South Madison, but now includes half of the East Side of Madison, Monona, McFarland, and Blooming Grove. 

State Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) was the former representative for the 78th district and has been redrawn into the 79th. Maia Pearson, the Mann Scholars program coordinator for the Mann Educational Opportunity Fund and the vice president of the Madison Metropolitan School District, also recently announced her campaign for the 78th.  

Stubbs will keep parts of South Madison in her new district that she had in the 77th, but instead of having west-side constituents from areas like Spring Harbor, the Village of Shorewood Hills, Edgewood College and the UW-Madison campus, her territory is moving east.

“Now, I will be representing the city of Monona, a portion of the village of McFarland and the town of Blooming Grove. I’ve lost the west part of my district in Madison,” Stubbs says. “I’m excited to reconnect with existing constituents and really excited to meet these new constituents. I look forward to learning more about other parts of the city of Monona, McFarland, and Blooming Grove to see what the constituents there have for their priorities. So I’ll be busy out knocking on doors, going through the constituency, and I look forward to meeting these voters at the door.”

Stubbs has served since 2018 when she became the first African-American woman to represent a Dane County district in the Legislature, and was the only African-American woman in the Assembly.

Stubbs, who earned undergraduate degrees from Tougaloo College and Mount Senario College and a master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University, says that her number-one priority will still be education. “I have been representing students at UW-Madison and Edgewood College but with this electoral map change, there will still be lots of students in my district, especially at Madison College. I think it is really important to have student voices and professor voices front and center,” she says.

Stubbs has served as first vice president of the NAACP Madison Branch, third vice president of the Wisconsin State NAACP Conference of Branches, the chair of the Black Caucus of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, and president of the Bridge/Lake Point Neighborhood Association. She is a longtime member of the Madison Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  As a former probation and parole officer, a focus on criminal justice has been one of the key issues of her career.

“Criminal justice is something I’ve certainly become an expert in and working on re-entry programs. Knowing that we have persons in our prisons and our jails who are returning back to our community, I think it’s really critical that we give the community organization funds to operate and help those people,” Stubbs says. “We need to be fair to those coming back into the community to have services and jobs available for them when they return. I’ve been busy in the state capitol. I just had three bills signed by the governor that focus on reentry. In Milwaukee, we started the first re-entry courts.” 

Equity is important to Stubbs and she says that she has continued to introduce legislation to create an office of equity and inclusion. 

“We know diversity, equity and inclusion have been under fire in the state of Wisconsin and across our nation, even as far as the [Washington] D.C. having offices closed,” Stubbs says. “I know that Wisconsin is the worst state to raise a Black family and it’s critical that we begin and continue to introduce legislation that makes it more equitable for all.”

Stubbs has worked hard to introduce Assembly Bill 615/Senate Bill 568 on building a Missing and Murdered African American Women and Girls Task Force. She will be hosting a press conference today in the Assembly Parlor of the Wisconsin State Capitol at 2:15 p.m. on the issue.

Georgia Hill (left), the daughter of Lasheky Hill, a 46-year-old African mother and grandmother from Racine who has been missing since March 26, provides testimony along with State Rep. Shelia Stubbs (right) and other supporters at the Wisconsin State Capitol building on AB 615 to create a task force on missing and murdered African American women and girls.

“I am going to go back to work in our state capitol this next session and introduce this legislation and hopefully get it across the finish line,” Stubbs says. “I am excited to share with you that I’ve had almost 30 bills signed into law by Governor Evers. I’m a legislator who believes in working bipartisan. I believe in working for my constituents, but also making the best decisions that impact all of us across the state of Wisconsin.”

Women’s health, environmental justice, mental health, and gun reform are all important issues to her as she campaigns, Stubbs notes.

State Rep. Shelia Stubbs at a Workers Memorial Day commemoration and press conference held on April 25 at the Labor Temple. (Photo supplied.)

“I was invited to the White House for the new Office of Gun Violence Prevention. I’ve been very clear and centered about the legislation I created for an office for gun violence … it would be the first in the state of Wisconsin. I created legislation for background checks … just simple, common-sense legislation,” Stubbs says. 

“Overall, I feel like I have a really good platform … a solid platform. It’s a platform that has worked for me for almost six years,” Stubbs continues. “So I look forward to going back to the doors and asking, ‘What are some of the other issues that are important to you?’”

Stubbs believes that the issues she has championed during her tenure will carry over to her constituents as she moves eastward, but she knows that all of Madison and Dane County are not uniformly the same in their issues and concerns.

“I’m so excited to get out there and get to the doors and meet these new constituents and learn some of their issues that they might feel are very important because you can live on the West Side of Madison and have a whole list of priorities that are different than the East Side,” Stubbs says.

“I can’t wait to get out and meet new people and hopefully gain their support,” she adds.