Kelda Roys

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Kelda Helen Roys
Kelda Roys.jpg
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 81st district
In office
January 2009 – January 7, 2013
Preceded byDavid Travis
Succeeded byFred Clark
Personal details
Born (1979-06-24) June 24, 1979 (age 40)
Marshfield, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Dan Reed
EducationNew York University (BA)
University of Wisconsin, Madison (JD)
WebsiteCampaign website

Kelda Helen Roys (born June 24, 1979) is an American tech entrepreneur, business owner, attorney, and a former Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly. In 2017, Roys announced that she would run for Governor of Wisconsin in 2018.[1][2] She was defeated in the Democratic primary.[3]

Roys represented the 81st Assembly District from her election in 2008 until 2013, and during the 2011-2013 session, served as Minority Caucus Chair.[4] In September 2011, Roys ran for Congress in Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district,[5] a race she lost in August 2012. She left the Assembly when her second term ended in 2013.

Early life and education[edit]

Roys was born in Marshfield, Wisconsin, and raised in Medford and Madison. Her mother was a social worker, her stepfather was an environmental lawyer, and her father was a retired prosecutor and law enforcement officer.[6] Roys graduated from Madison East High School in 1997.[7]

Roys attended New York University where she designed her own major in politics, drama, and cultural studies, and received a B.A., magna cum laude, in 2000.[8][9] In 2004, she received a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School, focusing on civil rights and international law, and was a participant in the Wisconsin Innocence Project. During and after college, Roys worked full-time as a real estate agent at The Marketing Directors, Inc.[10]

Community involvement[edit]

Roys has served on the boards of TEMPO Madison, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Women's Council, ACLU of Wisconsin, Madison Repertory Theater, Dane County Democratic Party, Sherman Neighborhood Association, Wisconsin Public Interest Law Foundation, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, and the State Bar of Wisconsin's Legal Services Committee.[11]

Political career[edit]

Legal advocacy[edit]

During law school, she worked at several international law firms, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and a firm in Istanbul, Turkey. After law school, she served for four years as the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin.


Wisconsin State Assembly (2008-2013)[edit]

In 2008, Roys won election to the Wisconsin State Assembly representing the 81st Assembly district, filling the seat left vacant by the retirement of David Travis, who had held the seat since 1983. She won a six-way Democratic primary with 30% of the vote and was unopposed in the general election.[12]

After being reelected in 2010, Roys was chosen by her peers to serve as the Democratic Caucus Chair in the Assembly. Roys served as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, and later served as ranking member on the Committee on Elections and Campaign Finance Reform and the Committee on Consumer Protection & Personal Privacy.

Roys authored numerous pieces of legislation during her time in office, including public breastfeeding protections, additional income tax deductions for families, expanded college savings programs, reproductive health access, expanding health care coverage, increased training and equipment for law enforcement officers, expansion of AODA treatment services and prevention programs, the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act, and a successful statewide ban of Bisphenol A, or "BPA."[13] Roys also publicly fought against 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, and has pledged to repeal the law if elected governor.[14]

2012 congressional election[edit]

In 2012, when Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin ran for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl, Roys left her Assembly seat to run for office in the open 2nd Congressional district. She lost to Mark Pocan in a four-candidate Democratic primary.[15]

2018 gubernatorial election[edit]

Roys declared her candidacy for governor of Wisconsin on December 7, 2017.[16]

Roys gained national attention when a campaign ad in which she breastfeeds her infant daughter went viral.[17][18] She was endorsed by EMILY's List, NOW,[19] NARAL Pro-Choice America,[20] Feminist Majority Foundation, former gubernatorial candidate Andy Gronik, former State Senator Jessica King, Representatives JoCasta Zamarripa and Amanda Stuck, and Kate Michelman, Nancy Keenan, Jehmu Greene, Ruth Messinger, Robert Lopez, and Sarah Silverman.[21]

Roys won first place by 12 points in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin State Convention straw poll.[22] In July 2018, the Roys campaign announced that she had raised over $800,000.[23][24]

Roys came in third in the eight candidate Democratic primary on August 28, 2018, with Tony Evers winning the nomination.[25]

Business career[edit]

In 2013, Roys founded a venture-backed[26] real estate tech company, OpenHomes,[27] a virtual real estate agency that helps homeowners sell their homes.[28]


  1. ^ Jessie Opoien. "Former state Rep. Kelda Roys set to launch campaign for governor in 2018". Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  2. ^ Cullen, Sandy. "Former Democratic lawmaker Kelda Helen Roys running for governor". Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  3. ^ Marley, Patrick; Beck, Molly (August 14, 2018). "Wisconsin primary: Democrat Tony Evers to face GOP Gov. Scott Walker in November". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  4. ^ Wisconsin State Legislature, 2011-2012 Assembly Officers Accessed February 7, 2012.
  5. ^ Jessica Vanegeren, "Bold move: Kelda Helen Roys risks Assembly seat for shot at Congress", The Capital Times, September 28, 2011. Accessed December 19, 2013.
  6. ^ Kelda Roys On Gubernatorial Run, Education, Jobs, Foxconn | Here and Now, retrieved 2018-07-12
  7. ^ 2009-2010 Wisconsin Blue Book. State of Wisconsin. p. 73.
  8. ^ D.C. Everest Area School District, Kelda Helen Roys audio interview Accessed January 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Wheeler, Van Sickle and Anderson, Law firm biography Accessed January 2, 2012.
  10. ^ "Kelda Roys". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  11. ^ "Kelda Helen Roys". Wisconsin Vote. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  12. ^ Jason Joyce, "Kelda Helen Roys wins 81st Assembly District, will replace 30-year incumbent Dave Travis", The Isthmus, September 9, 2009. Accessed January 2, 2012.
  13. ^ "Gubernatorial candidate Kelda Roys breastfeeds in campaign ad". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  14. ^ "Democrats say they would repeal Act 10 if they unseat Gov. Scott Walker". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  15. ^ "Our Campaigns - WI - District 02 - D Primary Race - Aug 14, 2012". Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Kelda Roys joins packed field of Dems hoping to challenge Gov Scott Walker". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Round of applause for Wisconsin governor candidate who breastfed her baby during campaign ad". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Kelda Roys Breastfeeds Her Baby in Campaign Video for Governor — and Hardly Misses a Beat". Babble. 2018-03-09. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  19. ^ "The Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for Women endorses Kelda Roys for governor". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  20. ^ "NARAL Pro-Choice America endorses Kelda Roys for governor". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Endorsements – Kelda for Governor". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  22. ^ "Wisconsin Democrats 'excited,' 'overwhelmed' by broad governor field, Roys wins straw poll". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  23. ^ "Democrat Roys reports raising $800,000 so far". WISC. 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  24. ^ Journal, Matthew DeFour | Wisconsin State. "Kelda Roys has raised $800,000 since entering governor's race". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  25. ^ DeFour, Matthew (August 14, 2018). "It's Evers: State schools superintendent to challenge Scott Walker in November". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Featured Member/Ambassador for Month – Kelda Roys – Doyenne". Doyenne. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  27. ^ Marc Eisen, "Former Rep. Kelda Helen Roys launches online startup OpenHomes",, August 8, 2013. Accessed December 19, 2013.
  28. ^ "About Us - Open Homes". Retrieved 2018-07-12.

External links[edit]