Lisa Brown (D-WA-05)

Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is the front-running Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington State’s 5th District. The seat is currently held by Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference. McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranking Republican in House Leadership. While the seat has been held by Republicans since 1995, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Red to Blue List has recognized Brown’s potential to win the 5th district for the Democrats. Brown is a life long educator and passionate public servant who has worked adamantly to support and improve Washington’s public school systems as well as expand access to affordable health care for all residents. If elected, Brown would be the first Democratic woman to represent the district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Background and Achievements

Lisa Brown grew up in Robison, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois with the help of federal financial aid. After earning her BA in Sociology and Economics as a first generation college graduate, Brown went on to receive her Masters and PhD in Economics from the University of Colorado Boulder. In 1980, Brown moved to Washington to teach economics at Eastern Washington University as an associate Professor. In addition to teaching, Brown served in both the state House of Representatives from 1992-1997 and in the state Senate from 1997-2013. Brown was the first woman in Washington State to serve as the Senate majority leader. She also championed legislation that improved insurance coverage for mental health, expanded children’s health care, created the non-profit Prescription Drug Assistance Foundation, and founded critical statewide economic tools such as the Rainy Day fund constitutional amendment. After her career in state public service, Brown returned to the academic sphere as the Chancellor of Washington State University Spokane.

Positions on Key Issues

  • Strongly supports affordable and comprehensive health care through expanding Medicare and lowering prescription drug prices;
  • Protects and advances human rights, including racial justice, reproductive justice, LGBTQ, and immigrant and refugee rights;
  • Advocates for gun control through banning bump stocks, closing loopholes in the background check system, and enhancing mental health treatment;
  • Supports student load debt refinancing and relief to make higher education affordable for all.

Prospects & Opponents

In Washington primaries, the two candidates who receive the most votes move onto the general election regardless of party. Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris Rogers won the primary with 47.8% of the vote (as of August 9). Lisa Brown was just behind McMorris Rogers with 46.8% of the vote. McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress as Chair of the House Republican Conference. In her 14 years as a Representative, McMorris Rodgers has voted for anti-choice legislation, to repeal the ACA, and against LGBTQ-inclusive hate crime legislation. The WA 5th district has shifted from being a strong Republican district to a leaning Republican district, allowing for the possibility of a strong, feminist Democratic candidate such as Lisa Brown to officially turn the tide.


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