Lisa began her professional career as a problem-solver and an advocate. A caseworker for then-Congressman Tom Carper, Lisa helped people during challenging times with their Social Security benefits, disability insurance claims, IRS disputes, and housing needs. She served in the cabinets of two Delaware governors as the Secretary of Labor, Deputy Secretary of Health and Social Services, and State Personnel Director.
As Secretary of Labor, Lisa managed 500 employees and an $87 million budget; she focused on connecting employers to resources and jobseekers – particularly those on public assistance or leaving Delaware prisons. As State Personnel Director, Lisa was commissioned to investigate the Delaware State Police for racial and sexual discrimination. Working with local and national experts in policing and civil rights, the 2001 Blunt-Bradley Report served as a roadmap to improve the internal and external relations of the State Police.
She also served as the CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League – an action-oriented, public policy research think-tank focused on the inclusion of people of color.
Lisa grew up in Wilmington, graduated from Padua Academy, and worked her first job at the McDonald’s on Market Street. She majored in International Relations as an undergraduate at Fairleigh Dickinson University and later earned a Master’s in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware. Lisa believes our national security requires a strong understanding of the rest of the world. She has helped women enter the workforce in the Middle East and provided vaccines to children in Africa. While living in China with her late husband Charles, she and two co-authors wrote THRIVE: 34 Women, 18 Countries, One Goal, which profiles women who reinvented themselves while living in a foreign country.
Lisa is the proud mother of Alyssa, age 29, and Alex, age 32, both of whom graduated from Delaware’s public schools. Education and college affordability are important to her.
Lisa made history in 2016 when she was elected to Congress. She was the first woman and the first person of color to represent The First State in such a role. She serves on the House Committee on Education and Workforce, as well as the House Committee on Agriculture. In December 2017, Lisa was named to the National Advisory Council for the Aspen Institute's Future of Work Initiative.