Democratic gubernatorial candidate picks Oakland official as running mate

By Allana Akhtar, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 3, 2014

With November’s gubernatorial election a few months away, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s Democratic opponent Mark Schauer has officially selected a running mate.

Schauer, a former congressman from Battle Creek Mich., chose Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown to join his ticket as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Though she had been the speculated choice for several weeks, Schauer held three separate press conferences in Southfield, Flint and Grand Rapids Thursday to officially announce his pick.

“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,” Schauer wrote in a press release. “Make no mistake, Lisa Brown will make a terrific Lt. Governor.”

Brown was elected as the Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds this past November. Prior to that, she served as a state representative for Michigan’s 39th district from 2009 to 2012.

Brown was born in Detroit and attended Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a J.D. from the Detroit College of Law.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D–Ann Arbor), who served with Brown during her time in the House, said her affability is an important asset for the campaign.

“I’ve seen her smart savvy wit, her dynamic personality– I like her a lot, personally,” Irwin said.

Brown is perhaps best known for her June 2012 remarks on the state House floor when she was silenced by the state Republican House leadership for using the word “vagina.” In a speech denouncing legislation that would place additional restrictions on abortion providers, she said, “Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’”

Brown garnered national media attention from the incident and received praise from a host of pro-choice and women’s rights advocates.

She was also one of four county clerks who granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a federal judge overturned Michigan’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban, despite the threat of a stay on the ruling from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

State Rep. Adam Zemke (D–Ann Arbor) said, throughout her career, Brown has fought hard for women’s rights, access to quality health care and making education affordable, and has demonstrated the deep desire to provide equal opportunity for all. Though the decision to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples received some negative media attention, he said he does not think it will hinder her campaign prospects.

“I’m certain that that decision that she made reinforced the ideology that equal rights for every Michigander is important to her and solidified it further,” Zemke said.

Though he thinks Schauer made the decision to select Brown before the court’s ruling on the ban, Irwin said her reaction further proved her qualifications as a running mate.

“Schauer already is obviously the candidate who supports marriage equality. Snyder is the candidate who decidedly does not,” he said. “Schauer needs no more credibility on that issue, Snyder has given him all the credibility he needs.”