A Madison native Kelda loves Wisconsin, our people, our land and water, our progressive heritage, and our midwestern friendliness. Her passion for public service was inspired by her social worker mother, her stepdad, an environmental lawyer, and her father, a retired state employee and prosecutor.
Kelda and her husband Dan are raising four wonderful, energetic girls. As the mom of two young daughters and stepmom of two teens, Kelda’s commitment to Wisconsin’s future is personal — and she knows a thing or two about managing chaos. Dan is a midwestern Spotted Cow lover and Packers fan who was mistakenly born in Virginia. He works at American Family Insurance but in previous lives was a strategy consultant, fishing software entrepreneur, and lefty pitcher for the Orioles organization.
To win her Assembly seat, Kelda knocked on 20,252 doors to hear people’s concerns firsthand. As a State Representative, she held dozens of listening sessions each year, from forums across the state, to informal “Coffees with Kelda” in coffee shops and diners, and even on Madison Metro buses. Some of Kelda’s best ideas come from these conversations, and she never stops listening to and caring about every person in our state.
Kelda has never been afraid to tell difficult truths, even when it’s unpopular. A longtime board member of Common Cause, Kelda has spoken out about the corrosive influence of big money in politics and authored legislation against Citizens United. Kelda has stood up to leaders in her own party, on issues such as advocating for non-partisan redistricting. When Republicans tried to ram through Act 10 without debate, Kelda’s passionate speech stopped them and gave the public more time to learn about Walker’s attack on workers.
Kelda has been standing up for women and families her whole career. In the Assembly, she stood out as an influential and effective lawmaker, delivering results for working families and helping lead the opposition to Governor Scott Walker’s radical agenda. As vice-chair of the Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, Kelda expanded healthcare access to over 80,000 previously uninsured Wisconsinites. Kelda stood up to the chemical lobby and authored the BPA Free Kids Act, to stop the neurotoxin bisphenol A from being put in baby bottles.
As executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin for four years, Kelda traveled our state and developed innovative, successful efforts to expand reproductive healthcare access. Working with an anti-choice Assembly, she helped Wisconsin pass its first pro-choice law in three decades, the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act. Kelda also worked on initiatives to reduce infant mortality and the need for abortion, and to decrease racial disparities in health care.
Kelda is the CEO and Founder of OpenHomes, a real estate brokerage that uses technology to help people sell and buy homes more easily and affordably. Frustrated with the high fees and inconsistent service of traditional brokerages, Kelda created an innovative, low-cost real estate brokerage while pregnant with her first child. Kelda’s growing company has created good paying jobs for Wisconsinites and serves customers across southern Wisconsin. As an employer and entrepreneur, Kelda understands how to create jobs, and she knows the importance of small businesses to a vibrant, growing economy.
In addition to her professional work, Kelda has been an active community leader for two decades. She volunteers at her daughter’s preschool, and has taught Sunday school at her church. Kelda has also served on many boards including the Clean Lakes Alliance, ACLU of Wisconsin, TEMPO Madison, Common Cause, Wisconsin Women’s Council, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Madison Repertory Theater, Public Interest Law Foundation, the Dane County Democratic Party’s Executive Board, and the Wisconsin State Bar Legal Services Committee.
Rep. Roys was elected Democratic Caucus Chair by her fellow state representatives, where she helped lead the opposition to Walker’s attack on workers during the historic Act 10 protests. Kelda passed laws on a wide range of progressive issues, including health care, economic justice, election and campaign finance reform, consumer protection, child safety, conservation, fiscal responsibility, and criminal justice reform.
Kelda earned her law degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she worked for the Wisconsin Innocence Project, helping free wrongfully convicted people from prison. As an attorney she represented people, non-profits, and small businesses, while providing free legal services to Wisconsinites in need. Kelda also served on the State Bar’s committee to expand access to free legal services.
Kelda will help lead Wisconsin into a more progressive future as Madison’s next state senator. She is committed to building a strong Democratic majority in the legislature. Kelda stands out because of her proven record of progressive accomplishments, her effective leadership in state government, her executive experience in the private and non-profit sectors – and most of all, her passion and positive vision for our state’s future.