A fierce warrior for women, for marriage equality, and so much more
Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer announced this morning that Lisa Brown as his running mate for Lt. Governor. Brown is a former two-term State House Representative in Michigan’s 39th District and is currently the County Clerk for Oakland County.
A statement from the candidate himself:
Lisa Brown is a proven leader who’s always been a tough fighter for the middle class. In the Legislature, Lisa led the charge against Governor Snyder’s $1 billion cut to education, and as Oakland County Clerk, she’s been a fearless champion for equal rights. Lisa shares my values and priorities for making education our top economic priority, and working to make Michigan’s economy fairer for the middle class. Make no mistake, Lisa Brown will make a terrific Lt. Governor.
Brown has a history of electoral surprises against Republicans. In 2006 she nearly upset incumbent Republican David Law in her first race for the House, losing by only 181 votes, a major accomplishment given that she had no previous experience. Two years later she won the seat in conservative Oakland County, beating Detroit Free Press-endorsed Republican Amy Peterman by over 5%.
In 2010, her Republican opponent Lois Shulman declared victory prematurely and, after absentee ballots were counted, Brown was found to have won another squeaker of an election. In 2011, Brown survived a retaliatory recall attempt by her detractors.
she was term-limited out of leaving the House in 2012, she ran for County Clerk in Oakland County and won the seat, the first time it has been held by a Democrat in decades.
Lisa Brown is probably best known for being silenced by Republican House leadership after she dared utter the word “vagina” on the floor of the House during a debate on anti-women legislation. Here’s the video of her “transgression”.
The sargeant is now removing 10,000 cards like these, from constituents across the state, whose voices were not allowed to be heard in committee, who stand and demand their rights.
This legislation…there were three boxes; there were more than 10,000 cards…this legislation does a lot of things, Mr. Speaker. It regulates business, requiring exorbitant insurance policies to be purchased, which will result in clinics closing doors, causing people to lose their jobs, and denying women their Constitutional rights.
Yesterday we heard from the Representative from Holland, speak about religious freedom. I’m Jewish. I keep kosher in my home. I have 2 sets of dishes–one for meat and one for dairy, and another 2 sets of dishes on top of that for Passover. Judaism believes that therapeutic abortions, namely abortions performed in order to preserve the life of the mother, are not only permissible, but mandatory. The stage of pregnancy does not matter. Wherever there’s a question of the life of the mother, or that of the unborn child, Jewish law rules in favor of preserving the life of the mother. The status of the fetus as human life does not equal that of the mother.
I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?
And finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no!
This story became national news when House Speaker Jase Bolger silenced her and Rep. Barb Byrum from speaking on the floor of the House for their audacity in speaking out for Michigan women. Bolger’s spokesperson Ari Adler described their actions as “temper tantrums” and said they were in need of “time outs”, further flaming national anger over the patriarchal and sexist actions by Republican leadership.
These events led to a rally on the steps of the Michigan Capitol Building where Eve Ensler brought her Vagina Monologues performance to Michigan. The event was called “Vaginas take back the Michigan Capitol” and women from the state legislature as well as others read from the script, including Lisa Brown.
Lisa Brown has also been on the forefront of the battle for marriage equality in Michigan. Soon after taking office as County Clerk, she was named as a defendant in the case by Oakland County residents April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse to overturn Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. However, rather than supporting the Snyder administration with which she was a co-defendant, Brown was vocal in her support for overturning the ban and spoke eloquently about it before and during the trial. When a one-day window opened when same-sex marriages were permitted in Michigan, Brown was one of four County Clerks to open their offices on a Saturday and she married well over 100 couples that day, developing a visible blister from signing so many marriage licenses.
Brown’s leadership on women’s issues and LGBT issues have earned her multiple accolades and awards. In 2012, she, Barb Byrum, and Rashida Tlaib were honored by Progress Michigan at their annual fundraiser.
Earlier this year, Brown was awarded Equality Michigan’s “Catalyst Award” for her leadership on marriage equality.
Brown lives in Bloomfield Hills with her husband and their five children/step-children. She has also been a community leader with an impressive list of accomplishments:
- Graduate of Michigan State University
- Graduate of Detroit College of Law
- State Representative District 39 2008-2012
- Member of State Bar
- Past Board Member of the Jewish Association for Residential Care
- Past Board Member of the Michigan Jewish AIDS Coalition
- Served as a member of Parent Teacher Organization at Pine Lake Elementary School and West Hills Middle School
- Past volunteer for Junior Achievement at Pine Lake Elementary School.
- Member of Adat Shalom Synagogue
Lisa Brown is a powerful addition to the top of the Democratic ticket. She brings diversity as well as a strong history of fighting for Democratic Party ideals. As a resident of southeastern Michigan, she nicely balances Mark Schauer’s mid- and western-Michigan roots, as well. It’s a powerful demonstration of the wisdom of Mark Schauer.
Photo courtesy of the Michigan Democratic Party
[All photos by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog except as indicated]