Getting out the vote means knocking on doors. And that’s what Sheila Stubbs, a 12-year veteran on the Dane County, Wisconsin, Board of Supervisors was doing on August 7. Stubbs, a candidate for State Assembly, representing Wisconsin’s 77th district, was canvassing the neighborhood in anticipation of the Democratic primary, which was to be held the following week. With Stubbs was her 71-year-old mother and her 8-year-old daughter, who waited in the car as she knocked on doors.
As Stubbs recently told The Capital Times, she was in the neighborhood no longer than 20 minutes before a police officer showed up. One resident saw the trio and, thinking the vehicle looked suspicious, called the police on Stubbs and her family.
The notes from the call, which the Times acquired, read:
“FULLY OCCUPIED SILVER 4 DR SEDAN NEWER MODEL - THINKS THEY ARE WAITING FOR DRUGS AT THE LOCAL DRUG HOUSE - WOULD LIKE THEM MOVED ALONG.”
The report added that the caller was male.
Stubbs, who ended up winning the primary with 50 percent of the vote, didn’t name the neighborhood that she was in but confirmed it was predominantly white. She also told CBS News that her interaction with the officer was brief—and once Stubbs showed the female officer her campaign literature, the cop was apologetic.
“She said, ‘I’m really sorry that that happened to you,’” Stubbs told CBS.
For Stubbs, who is at least the second black candidate who has had cops called on her this year while canvassing a neighborhood (Janelle Bynum of Oregon endured a similar experience) the incident was “humiliating.”
“I belong where I choose to go,” Stubbs told the Capital Times. “You don’t have to like me. You don’t even have to respect me. But I have a right to be places.”
As the Times notes, Wisconsin ranks among the worst in the nation when it comes to racial disparities. Stubbs, a 47-year-old former parole agent and educator, campaigned for her Assembly seat with a progressive platform that focused on criminal justice reform, including diverting funding from prisons toward education. She also wants to protect abortion rights, provide universal health-care access and support worker’s rights, the Times reports. Because she’s running unopposed in the district, Stubbs is essentially a sure shot to take a seat in the Wisconsin Assembly come January, making her the first black Assemblywoman to represent Dane County.
As for the man who called the cops on her, CBS reports Stubbs has a message for him:
“I am now your representative,” she said.