Senator Kelda Helen Roys is a small business owner, attorney, and former nonprofit executive. Senator Roys represents Wisconsin’s 26th Senate District, which includes most of Madison and Shorewood Hills. Sen. Roys serves on the following committees: Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR), Senate Committee on Government Operations, Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, Senate Committee on Universities and Revenue, State Capitol and Executive Residence Board (SCERB).
A Wisconsin native, Sen. Roys’ passion for public service was inspired by her mother, a social worker, father, a prosecutor, and stepfather, an environmental lawyer. Graduating from college in 3 years, while working full time during the last year, she earned a B.A. magna cum laude in Politics, Drama, and Cultural Studies from NYU. In 2004, Kelda earned a JD magna cum laude from UW Law School, where, as part of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, she helped pass landmark criminal justice reforms to prevent wrongful convictions.
After law school, Sen. Roys served for four years as executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, where she developed innovative and successful efforts to expand emergency contraception access through state and local policy. Under her leadership, Wisconsin passed the first pro-choice law in three decades, the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act, despite an anti-choice Assembly. Kelda also worked on initiatives to reduce infant mortality and address racial disparities in health care.
Sen. Roys served in the State Assembly for two terms, from 2009-2013, winning her seat by knocking on 20,252 doors and becoming the youngest then-serving state legislator. Kelda’s district spanned Northwestern Dane County, representing a diverse population of urban, suburban, and rural voters. In her second Assembly term, Kelda was elected Democratic Caucus Chair and, during historic protests, she helped lead the opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on long-standing worker protections. Kelda served as vice-chair of the Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, enabling 80,000 Wisconsinites to gain access to healthcare. She 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, among other areas.
While in the Assembly, Kelda practiced law at Wheeler, Van Sickle & Anderson, helping individuals and small businesses. In 2013, Sen. Roys founded her small business, OpenHomes, a real estate brokerage serving customers throughout southern Wisconsin, which she continues to run as CEO. She ran an historic campaign for governor of Wisconsin in 2018, before returning to the legislature in 2021 as state senator.
Kelda has been an active community leader for two decades, serving 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; she has also has taught Sunday school at her church.
Kelda and her husband live in Madison with their children.