A Democratic candidate in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race released a campaign ad on Tuesday that includes a shot of her breastfeeding while talking about her political achievements.
Kelda Roys, a former Wisconsin state representative and entrepreneur, spends part of the ad discussing her role in the 2010 BPA Free Kids Act becoming law. As Roys talks about the measure to stop neurotoxin bisphenol A from being added to baby bottles and sippy cups, her husband hands her their 4-month-old child.
Roys holds the fussy baby and begins to breastfeed.
“Government should be about helping every person achieve his or her potential ― and Wisconsin used to do it so well,” Roys said in the video moments later. “Democracy only works when we all get involved.”
The powerful scene wasn’t planned, Roys told HuffPost.
“Anybody who’s ever had a baby can tell you that they are unpredictable,” Roys said. “I just did what I have been trained by her to do, which is to immediately grab her and feed her, and I just sort of didn’t think about it.”
“When they sent back the video and it was in there, I just said, ’What the heck, this is real life,’” she added. “I think, in 2018, people are hungry for candidates who are authentic and speak the truth. I don’t want to have to hide a really important part of myself in order to win an election.”
“What sets me apart from the rest of the field is not that I have a baby, but I have a track record of getting things done.”
Some internet users have attacked her over the ad, but Roys said the feedback has been mostly positive.
“I’ve had a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from people ― even Republican women,” she said. “Of course, there have been some haters and internet trolls. ... Some men just feel, I guess, entitled to comment on my body. But the story of 2018 isn’t about internet trolls. The story of 2018 is about women rising up.”
Roys is one of more than a dozen Democratic gubernatorial candidates hoping to unseat two-term incumbent Gov. Scott Walker (R), a climate science skeptic and proponent of controversial school choice programs.
“I am a mom, and that’s a big reason why I am motivated to run for governor. I cannot have my children growing up in a world where we don’t value public education and we are destroying natural resources,” Roys said. “What sets me apart from the rest of the field is not that I have a baby, but I have a track record of getting things done, of accomplishing progressive policies for people of this state.”