Williams, a Milwaukee Democrat, served in the Assembly for 30 years before announcing her retirement in 2010. Her backing for the school choice program was key to its creation in 1989, and the program has since grown to serve tens of thousands of children. Her support for the program, however, often put her at odds with her fellow Democrats.
“People were saying, ‘You’re in bed with conservatives.’ Well, no I wasn’t. I was just fighting to give parents — regardless of their economic status — the right to have some say-so about the education their children were receiving,” Williams told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2010, when she decided to retire.
Williams, whose 10th District had one of the highest percentages of African-Americans in the state, also established the African American Education Council, an organization designed to give black residents a voice in efforts to reform Milwaukee Public Schools.