Deer Park Tribune
Lisa Brown Steps Down As Commerce Director
Lisa Brown stepped down as the Washington State Department of Commerce Director on March 3 to run against Spokane mayor Nadine Woodward.
Brown was appointed to the Commerce Director position in February of 2019 but had a history in politics. Brown is the former Senate Majority Leader in the Washington House of Representatives and served in the state House of Representatives for four years as a minority whip and floor leader. In all, she was in the legislature for 20 years.
Brown was also the chancellor of Washington State University Spokane chancellor.
“Commerce has undergone enormous change in the last few years, and Lisa has been an exceptional leader throughout it all,” Inslee said. “During COVID-19, Lisa deftly guided the agency to pivot quickly to adminis ter ing 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. Lisa is a trailblazer in her own right who has shattered glass ceilings and looks for ways to clear the path for others to succeed, within the agency and among the communities that Commerce serves. Our state is better for her leadership and I wish her all the best in her next endeavors.”
Brown, a longtime Spokane resident, ran for Congress as a Democrat against
Cathy McMorris Rodgers but lost.
“Lisa and the Commerce team helped us weather the pandemic with strong advocacy for international trade,” Seattle Port Commissioner Sam Cho said. “She partnered with us in Seattle to promote the Korean-American business community and in Paris, Tokyo, and London with Washington's aerospace, maritime, and clean tech industries.
According to a press release by the Department of Commerce, Brown expanded Commerce's Community Engagement and Outreach team and launched the Small Business Resiliency Network with public and philanthropic funding to support small businesses and entrepreneurs from historically marginalized commu n i t i e s with in- language and culturally relevant assistance and resources. Thirty trusted messenger organizations are now partners in the network across the state, from the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Clark County to the Carl Maxey Center of Spokane.
“Strengthening communities is Commerce's mission,” Brown said. “We have a short name and a big toolbox of programs, grants, and technical assistance to deploy. I want to thank the dedicated Commerce employees partnering with local governments, businesses, and non- profits to foster good jobs, infrastructure and access to broadband, sustainability and resiliency, housing and community capital facilities, and support for families and businesses in every region of the state. I am proud of our work over the last four years and confident that this team will continue to excel in equitable community and economic development.”
Brown has also taught at Gonzaga University and Eastern Washington University.
Brown said the Woodward administration has too much conflict and turnover when launching her mayoral campaign in Spokane. She said she would focus on the need for housing, community safety, better jobs, and opportunities for Spokane residents.
Woodward has been mayor of Spokane since 2019.