Shelia Stubbs is making some amazing Wisconsin history today at the Wisconsin State Capitol. This morning, she will be sworn in as the first African-American from Dane County ever elected to the Wisconsin State Legislature in its history. Stubbs will represent District 77 in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

“I’m grateful and I’m so happy to be making history … going all the way back since Wisconsin became a state in 1848,” Stubbs tells Madison365. “I stand on the shoulders of so many who have paved the way from Shirley Chisholm to Fanny Lou Hamer to my friend Maxine Waters and Marcia Fudge … all of those great women in the state Capitol – from Polly Williams to Gwen Moore to Lena Taylor to Sen. LaTonya Johnson and the late Tamara Grigsby.

“I am really excited about the diversity in this freshman class – 3 African Americans and a Latina,” she adds. “I’m just honored to be amongst them.”

To honor this historic accomplishment, friends, family, community members and parishioners from End Time Ministries International gathered this past Saturday night at the Fitchburg Community Center for a “Pre-Inaugural Dinner: History in the Making” to celebrate. Dr. Rev. Alex Gee, pastor at Fountain of Life Church, was the moderator for the event.

Dr. Rev. Alex Gee with Shelia Stubbs

“It was so beautiful. So many of my family and friends were in the room. Some of my best friends from college were there. Two of them I hadn’t seen since 1993. They really surprised me,” Stubbs says. “I had guests come in from California, my family from Beloit, my family from Pennsylvania and Ohio. My dad came from Arkansas!

“The room was just electrifying. It was a great feel; a great inaugural feel. I felt very upbeat. There was so much excitement. I am just so humbled. I think ‘humbled’ is the word … humbled, grateful, and honored to serve the District and to be a representative at the state level,” she adds. “I think it’s important for me to create pathways for others and I feel like this is just the beginning of the next chapter. People say, I’m ‘becoming Shelia.’ So, I don’t really know what’s next. But I’m excited. I’m living in this beautiful moment.”

Stubbs, a longtime social justice and civil rights activist, has been the only African American on the Dane County board, a position she has held since 2006. Last fall, Stubbs easily won the Democratic primary for the 77th Assembly district which covers part of downtown Madison and the city’s west side. Friends, family and people from her church were in abundance at the celebration that had live music and dancing. Nine people gave toasts.

“My sorority sisters were there, of course!” Stubbs says, talking about the Madison Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. “They were volunteering, as always, working the door and making sure things were in place.”

Stubbs is the first person of color to represent any part of Dane County in the State Assembly. She says that she excited about her opportunity and happy to be working with a new governor – Tony Evers.

“I believe in change and I stand as a pillar of change. I’m so excited about Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. What we get to do is to return the state back into the hands of the people,” she says. “The people have spoken, and the people will be heard. That’s what needs to be happening. I believe it’s the people’s house and my doors will always be open.

“I’m excited to sit in this seat during this exciting time. I know working with Gov. Evers that we’re going to do a lot of bipartisan work,” she adds. “Gov. Evers and I share education agendas. I’m excited to work with [Lt. Gov.] Mandela [Barnes], we share racial disparities and economic development agendas. There’s so much we have in common. First and foremost, I’m glad to say that they are my friends. I really believed in them and their campaign from the moment they announced. The reason I believed in them, is because they believed in people. This is a very exciting time right now.”