A Democratic newcomer is challenging the Democratic incumbent for the 80th state assembly district.

Kimberly Smith, a Democrat from Oregon, announced her candidacy for the district on Wednesday, June 17, in a news release. The district seat represents part of the cities of Verona and Fitchburg and part of the Village of Oregon. The district also covers parts of the villages of Brooklyn, Blue Mounds, Mount Horeb, Belleville and New Glarus, as well as other towns in Dane, Green and Iowa counties.

Smith said it’s time for a change in the State Assembly, even though incumbent Sondy Pope has been a “loyal Democrat.” Pope has held the seat for the last eight years and has been in the assembly since 2002.

“The violence of George Floyd’s death, and the protests and unrest that have followed have our community asking, “what do we do?” Now is the time for black voices to step up, be heard, and take action,” Smith said in the release. “Too many of our legislators have taken the easy road of non-confrontational acquiescence, which has left the black community in peril.”

Smith’s platform includes being a small business advocate, in support of criminal justice reform and cannabis legalization for medical purposes, according to her Facebook page.

In the release, Smith said that the time has come for legislators to be brave and correct injustices, rather than do what is safe.

“Change begins with action,” she wrote. “That is why I have stepped out of my own safe space to ask the people of our district to put their trust in me. The changes we need in Wisconsin have not taken place, and that is the fault of our current leadership.”

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at kimberly.wethal@wcinet.com and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.​