Lisa Brown (Michigan politician)

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Lisa Brown
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 39th district
In office
January 12, 2009 – January 14, 2012
Preceded byDavid Law
Personal details
Born (1967-01-26) January 26, 1967 (age 52)
Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
ProfessionRealtor, lawyer, politician
WebsiteOfficial Website

Lisa Brown (born January 26, 1967) is an American politician from the state of Michigan. A Democrat, she was elected Oakland County Clerk & Register of deed on November 6, 2012. Brown was previously a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. She represented the 39th State House District, located in Central Oakland County since 2009. The District covers all of Commerce Township and most of West Bloomfield Township. She was the 2014 Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor alongside former Congressman Mark Schauer.


Brown was born in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1985. She received a BS in Psychology from Michigan State University in 1989, and went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from the Detroit College of Law in 1993. While at law school, she served as a clerk for two law firms. Brown practiced law for several years, handling probate issues. She then worked as a realtor with Max Broock Realtors in West Bloomfield Township.[1]

Prior to her election, she served on the PTA of West Hills Middle School and Pine Lake Elementary School. She is Jewish and attends Adat Shalom, a Conservative Synagogue in Farmington Hills. She served on the Region Board of Directors and is a life member of World ORT, a "non-profit non-governmental organization whose mission is the advancement of Jewish and other people through training and education". She is on the Executive Board of Directors of JARC, the Jewish Association for Residential Care.[2]

Political career[edit]

In 2006, Brown began a campaign as a Democrat for Michigan's 39th State House District, which was then held by Republican incumbent David Law. Brown was originally the underdog, especially as she had no prior electoral experience. On election day, however, she nearly scored an upset over Law, losing by only 181 votes (0.5%).[3]

In 2008, Law decided not to run for a third term, instead unsuccessfully campaigning to become Oakland County Prosecutor.[4]

Brown announced her intention to run for this 39th District again. Democrat John Kuriakuz challenged her in the Democratic Primary. Brown emerged victorious with 57% of the vote. In the General Election she faced Republican Walled Lake School Board President Amy Peterman. The 39th District includes all of Commerce Township and all but a small northern portion of West Bloomfield Township. Both parties spent heavily on the race, and Peterman was endorsed by the Detroit Free Press. On election day, Brown narrowly beat Peterman by a 51.6%-46.1% margin. She took office on January 1, 2009. She sat on the Education, Energy and Technology, Ethics and Elections, and Judiciary Committees. She authored a bill that banned the recreational drug benzylpiperazine.[5]

In the November 2010 election, after an initial declaration of victory by her opponent, a review of the final tally was started. Her opponent, Lois Shulman, had declared victory before thousands of absentee ballots were counted. Ultimately, Brown prevailed by a margin of 86 votes (17,137 to 17,051).[6]

Brown was elected County Clerk and Register of Deeds on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican Willis C. Bullard, Jr., who had been appointed clerk in 2010 by the Oakland County Commissioners to fill a remainder term. Upon taking office, Brown became a defendant in a federal lawsuit, DeBoer v. Snyder, in which a lesbian couple, residents of Oakland County, are challenging Michigan's denial of adoption and marriage rights to same-sex couples. Named as a defendant because her office is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, she has supported the plaintiffs and expressed an eagerness to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as the law allows.[7]

2012 abortion debate dispute[edit]

In June 2012, Michigan House Republicans prevented Brown from speaking on the floor in a debate about abortion legislation after saying "I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but no means no."[8] Brown was gaveled off the floor and prohibited from speaking along with Representative Barb Byrum, who proposed a ban on vasectomies. Democrats called the incident evidence that Republicans were trampling on women's rights, with Senator Gretchen Whitmer saying "the war on women in Michigan is not fabricated — this is very real — and it comes at the highest levels of state government."[9]


Brown later stated: "I was either banned for being Jewish and rightfully pointing out that HB 5711 was forcing contradictory religious beliefs upon me and my religion. Or is it because I used the word 'vagina', which is an anatomically, medically correct term?"[10] On June 19, 2012 Representative Wayne Schmidt provided the GOP viewpoint, characterizing both of female representatives as "kids" who were "throwing temper tantrums" and in need of "time outs".[11] House Speaker Jase Bolger stated that by referencing vagina, and then saying 'no means no', thereby making a rape reference, is inappropriate for legislative setting.[12] Some commentators accused detractors of Lisa Brown's usage of the word vagina of being eurotophobic.[13]

Campaign for Lieutenant Governor[edit]

In an email to supporters on April 3, 2014, Mark Schauer announced his selection of Brown as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor of Michigan in the 2014 gubernatorial election.[14]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2014 election for Lieutenant Governor
  • 2012 election for Oakland County Clerk & Register of Deeds
    • Lisa Brown (D), 53%
    • Bill Bullard, Jr. (R), 47%
  • 2010 election for State House
    • Lisa Brown (D), 49.08%
    • Lois Shulman (R), 48.84%
    • Nathan Allen (L), 2.08%
  • 2008 election for State House
    • Lisa Brown (D), 52%
    • Amy Peterman (R), 46%
  • 2008 Democratic Primary election for State House
    • Lisa Brown (D), 57%
    • John Kuriakuz (D), 43%
  • 2006 election for State House
    • David Law (R), 50%
    • Lisa Brown (D), 50%


  1. ^ "Lisa Brown". Max Broock Realtors. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  2. ^ "About Lisa". Lisa Brown for Michigan State Representative. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  3. ^ Stevens, Lindy (October 28, 2008). "Often overshadowed, hotly contested state legislature races have consequences for students". The Michigan Daily.
  4. ^ "Some of Michigan's key state House races for 2008". WZZM 13. October 7, 2008.
  5. ^ "Oakland County's state House districts". Detroit Free Press. October 22, 2010.
  6. ^ "Election Results GENERAL ELECTION November 02, 2010". Michigan Department of State. Archived from the original on June 11, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  7. ^ Polaski, Adam (October 16, 2014). "Michigan marriage lawsuit will proceed to trial". Freedom to Marry. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  8. ^ Gray, Kathleen (June 14, 2012). "With video: Two female Michigan lawmakers silenced after vagina, abortion comments". Detroit Free Press.
  9. ^ Livengood, Chad (June 15, 2012). "Michigan reps silenced for use of 'v-words'". The Detroit News.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Michigan Live: "Rep. Lisa Brown questions whether her Jewish faith led to being banned from House floor debate" by Dave Murray June 14, 2012
  11. ^ [1] Michael Patrick Shiels Show, June 19, 2012 interview recorded from web broadcast
  12. ^ "Lawmakers silenced after abortion debate brings 'Vagina Monologues' to Michigan capitol steps". Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  13. ^ Tazkargy, Ariel S. "From coercion to coercion: Voluntary sterilization policies in the United States." Law & Ineq. 32 (2014): 135.
  14. ^ Schauer selects Lisa Brown as running mate,; accessed January 5, 2015.