“Wisconsinites, no matter where we live, have more in common than divisive politicians would have us believe. It’s time for a Governor with a real strategy for growing the economy and creating jobs. As a successful tech entrepreneur and small business owner, I know that real, sustainable economic growth comes from homegrown innovators.”
“Wisconsin deserves a leader with the energy to take on the corrupting influence of money in politics, and the common sense to focus on what matters most – access to health care, affordable childcare and paid family leave, great schools, protecting clean air and water.”
Kelda Roys is a 38-year old small business owner, former state representative, and attorney. A dynamic community leader, advocate for women and children, and skilled policymaker, Roys is running for governor of Wisconsin. Currently the CEO & Founder of OpenHomes, a high tech real estate startup, Roys’ company serves customers in 41 counties across Wisconsin.
Born in Marshfield, WI, and raised in Taylor and Dane Counties, Kelda’s passion for public service was inspired by her mother, a social worker, father, a prosecutor, and stepfather, an environmental lawyer. Roys graduated magna cum laude in three years from New York University with a B.A. in Politics, Drama, and Cultural Studies. To help pay for her education, she worked full time as a real estate agent in her final year of college and afterward. Kelda earned her JD magna cum laude from UW Law School, where, as part of the renowned Innocence Project, she helped pass landmark criminal justice reforms to prevent wrongful convictions.
After law school, Roys became executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, where she developed innovative and successful efforts to expand emergency contraception access through state and local legislation. 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. Roys also worked on initiatives to reduce infant mortality and address racial disparities in health care.
In 2008, Kelda won a competitive six-way primary for State Assembly, knocking on 20,252 doors, and became the youngest then-serving legislator in the state. Roys’ district spanned Northwestern Dane County, representing a diverse population of urban, suburban, and rural voters. In her second term, Roys was elected Democratic Caucus Chair and helped lead the opposition during the historic protests of Gov. Scott Walker’s destruction of Wisconsin’s long-standing worker protections.
Rep. Roys served as vice-chair of the Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform and 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 legislature, she practiced law at Wheeler, Van Sickle & Anderson, helping individuals and small businesses. In 2012, Roys ran for an open Congressional seat, highlighting campaign finance reform and raising over half a million dollars from 3,400 individual donors. In 2013, she left the legislature and, while pregnant with her first child, founded her startup company.
Kelda has been an active community leader for two decades, serving on many boards, including the 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 also volunteers at her daughter’s preschool and has taught Sunday school at her church.
Kelda’s husband, Dan Reed, works for American Family Insurance as managing director of American Family Ventures, and is himself a successful entrepreneur who built and then sold a fishing software company. Together, they are raising Dan’s two teen daughters, Erin and Emily, and their daughters Arcadia and Avalon.