On Friday, March 27th, Kelda Roys announced her campaign for Senate with an incredible oversight: “I am currently the only declared candidate in the race…” she sent out in an e-mail to past supporters. This was categorically untrue— myself (Nada Elmikashfi), and two other candidates have been declared for Senator Risser’s seat as early as 2018. Additionally, Roys also met with Aisha Moe, who informed her of her decision to run for office in early January.
Reporting in the wake of Senator Risser’s retirement in the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison365, the Cap Times and many other publications mentioned the three candidates of color already in the race. So it is my hope that it was a simple overlook on the part of Kelda. However, it’s ramifications are profound: the historic candidacies of three Madisonians of color were erased without so much as a simple visit to the Wisconsin Election Commission’s declared candidate track sheet.
As a young, black, immigrant woman, deciding to run for Senate involved a great deal of thought, research, and work. The decision came on the heels of a lived experience that informed my commitment to Madison: I have seen the growth we have made and the path we have yet to take in order to ensure a more equitable Madison for our working-class. My decision was not a leap, but rather a step in the long stride towards re-establishing our proud progressive tradition in the state legislature.
For Roys and media outlets like 27 WKOW and journalists (some of whom I had personally interviewed with about my run), who ignored our candidacies for District 26, it’s important to remember the harm of erasure into today’s political climate.
As a community, our dream for a more just and a less segregated Madison cannot be dismissed. Our dream for a legislature that passes policies that ensure housing reform, rigorous environmental protections, and that heal our economic disparities, cannot be dismissed. Our stories as people of color are not to be erased, but to be amplified alongside the stories of our neighbors.
We have been here, we are here to stay, and we look forward to fighting for a better Madison. I will continue to encourage Kelda to send out a corrective email — the richest democratic process encourages an informed constituency and a diverse and dense field of candidates. Public office dictates professionalism and absolute clarity, we must make it our priority as candidates to always provide the best for our city, whether it’s in service, intentions, or simply, in information.
You can join our movement at www.nadaforwisconsin.com.
[Kelda Roys for State Senate has reached out to Madison365 noting that when informed of the oversight, Roys immediately and personally apologized on behalf of the campaign, and posted it publicly on her Facebook page and Twitter tagging both candidates. —Ed.]