The Washington State Department of Commerce announced yesterday they will be seeking a new director. Lisa Brown, who has served in that position since being appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2019, will step down effective March 3rd.
Brown took over for Brian Bonlender who left to take a position with Lodestar Strategic LLC as a government affairs consultant. Before heading Commerce, Brown was Chancellor of the Spokane campus of Washington State University. While at WSU Spokane, Brown was instrumental in creating the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine which was founded in 2015.
Brown accepted the appointment before the COVID 19 pandemic and was credited by Gov. Inslee for her leadership during that time:
“During COVID-19, Lisa deftly guided the agency to pivot quickly to administering unprecedented levels of relief and assistance funding for local governments, Tribes, small businesses and nonprofits, youth development programs, people needing housing and rent assistance, and more.”
Brown was no stranger to Olympia before serving as Director of Commerce. She represented the 3rd District in the State Senate for 16 years and in the State House for 4 years. During her time in the Senate, Brown was Senate Majority and Minority leader and also chaired the Ways and Means, Rules, and Energy, Technology, and Telecommunications Committees.
Brown began her political career in the State House in 1992, then was elected to the Senate for the first time in 1996. In 2018 Brown unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Congress in the 5th Congressional District against incumbent Republican Cathy McMorris Rogers. Brown has not announced future plans at this time.
LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in
Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots–the Ozarks’ Branson, Missouri, or Arizona’s Lake Havasu–it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You’ll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country’s top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash’s prison blues.