Shelia Stubbs is making history. The 46-year-old former educator and parole agent cruised to victory last month in the Democratic primary for Wisconsin’s 77th Assembly District. With no opposition, she’s almost certain to take her seat in the state legislature in January ― becoming the first African-American person to represent the district.
A week before her primary victory, however, in which she clinched nearly 50 percent of the vote, Stubbs said she experienced the “hardest journey of my life” when an unidentified man called the police on her as she was canvassing door to door.
Stubbs told the Capital Times this week that she’d been handing out campaign literature with her 71-year-old mother and her 8-year-old daughter when a police officer approached and began questioning them.
A police report of the incident dated Aug. 7 and obtained by BuzzFeed indicated that a man, presumably one of Stubbs’ future constituents, called the cops to report a “suspicious vehicle” he said was “waiting for drugs at the local drug house.”
Stubbs’ mother, Linda Hoskins, and her granddaughter were in the car when the officer arrived. Hoskins explained that they “were in the vehicle waiting for her adult daughter … to complete door to door campaigning,” according to the report.
When Stubbs returned to the car, she said she showed the officer her name tag, campaign literature and a list of homes she planned to solicit.
Stubbs said she had a positive interaction with the officer, who she said apologized for what happened, but the experience still left her deeply shaken.
“I felt humiliated. I felt outraged, I felt angry. I felt embarrassed,” Stubbs, who has been a Dane County supervisor since 2006, told CBS News.
This was at least the second time in recent months that a black woman politician has been reported to authorities while canvassing. Janelle Bynum, an Oregon state representative, said someone called the cops on her in July while she was campaigning door to door.
Stubbs expressed alarm that such incidents could still happen in this day and age.
“It’s 2018,” she told the Times. “It shouldn’t be strange that a black woman’s knocking on your door. I didn’t do anything to make myself stand out. I felt like they thought I didn’t belong there.”