Chris Taylor was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in a special election held on August 9, 2011. For Chris, the right to collectively bargain for a living wage and safe working conditions are a family issue. Her grandmother, who died two years ago at the age of 107, was left in the 1940s to raise three children alone. She had to get a job outside her home in order to support her children. She went to work for a department store selling handbags. But she was too good at her job and sold so many handbags that her commission was taken away and she struggled to support her sons and daughter. When she got a job in a union, her wages rose considerably and she was able to provide for her children, who she helped send to college. They all became teachers. Chris’s mother Pat was a public school elementary teacher for 26 years.
Chris graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she received her J.D. in 1995. As a college student, Chris volunteered for Planned Parenthood and worked at an advocacy organization for battered women. During law school, she advocated for incarcerated women, studied international human rights law in The Netherlands and worked for a human rights organization in Northern Ireland.
Chris and her husband, Jim Feldman, have been residents of Madison’s east side for roughly two decades. Jim received his PhD from UW and is a professor in environmental studies at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. They have two sons, Sam and Ben.
Chris has a long career as an advocate for basic human rights. In 2003, she started working for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin as the policy and political director. Over the last 8 years, Chris has led PPWI to many landmark victories for women’s health during some very difficult times.
She was one of the driving forces behind the passage of the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act, the first pro-active reproductive health bill to pass in over 3 decades. Her strategic insight and persistent advocacy helped move this bill, which had languished for almost a decade, through an anti-women’s health state assembly and to the Governor’s desk in 2007.
Chris has led numerous state and local coalitions, sometimes that have endured for 2 or 3 legislative sessions, to pass proactive women’s health policy items including: contraceptive equity in insurance coverage, comprehensive sex education for our public schools and increased access to birth control prescriptions at the pharmacy counter.
She has secured funding for critical cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for uninsured women, during tight fiscal times when other programs were flat funded or reduced.
She has sat at a coalition table with the labor community, environmental advocates, the LGBT community and other progressive partners for the last 8 years to develop and implement strategies that have helped further the progressive agenda in the state of Wisconsin.
Chris has also been on the State Bar’s Public Interest Law Section, leading their legislative subcommittee, Secretary for the Legal Association for Women, a member of the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, NARAL-Pro-Choice Wisconsin and Democratic Party of Wisconsin.