Lisa Jo Brown (born October 9, 1956) is an American politician and educator who served as the director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. A member of the Democratic Party, Brown has served in both houses of the Washington State Legislature, including eight years as the first Democratic female majority leader of the Washington State Senate. She has also served as the chancellor of Washington State University Spokane, a position she stepped down from in order to mount an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House. Born and raised in Illinois, she received her undergraduate education from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Brown spent over three decades in higher education teaching economics at Eastern Washington University and in the organizational leadership program at Gonzaga University. She was appointed the first female Chancellor of Washington State University, Spokane in 2013 and served in that role until 2017. Brown first entered politics in 1992 when she was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives. She was elected to the State Senate in 1996 and elected as the first female Democratic Majority Leader of that body in 2005. She returned to politics in 2018, running to represent Washington's 5th congressional district against Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Brown was considered a dark horse candidate and the race received national attention, though Brown lost.
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