Lisa Blunt Rochester
Lisa Blunt Rochester official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's at-large district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byJohn Carney
Personal details
Lisa LaTrelle Blunt

(1962-02-10) February 10, 1962 (age 61)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1982; div. 2003)

Charles Rochester
(m. 2006; died 2014)
RelativesTed Blunt (father)
EducationFairleigh Dickinson University
University of Delaware (MA)
WebsiteHouse website

Lisa LaTrelle Blunt Rochester (née Blunt;[1] born February 10, 1962) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative for Delaware's at-large congressional district since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the first woman and first African American to represent Delaware in Congress.[2]

Early life and education

Blunt Rochester was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 10, 1962.[3] Her family moved to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1969.[4] Her father, Ted Blunt, was an educator who served on the Wilmington City Council, including as council president.[5] Her mother, Alice LaTrelle, worked in retail.[2]

Blunt Rochester attended Padua Academy, began college at Villanova University, and later transferred to the University of Delaware in her sophomore year.[2] She left college to live in Europe, and later received her bachelor's degree in international relations from Fairleigh Dickinson University and her master's degree in urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware.[4][2]

Early political career

Blunt Rochester worked for Tom Carper as an intern in 1989, when he served as Delaware's U.S. Representative. After the internship, she continued to work for Carper as a constituent relations caseworker, and worked on his transition team when he was elected governor of Delaware.[2][6][7] Carper appointed her deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services in 1993 and Secretary of the Department of Labor in 1998. Governor Ruth Ann Minner named Blunt Rochester the state personnel director in 2001.[2]

In 2004, Blunt Rochester left government service and became the CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League.[2][4]

U.S. House of Representatives


Lisa Blunt Rochester questioning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during a hearing in front of the House Committee on Agriculture in Washington, D.C., May 17, 2017.
Lisa Blunt Rochester questioning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during a hearing in front of the House Committee on Agriculture in Washington, D.C., May 17, 2017.
Lisa Blunt Rochester with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, May 26, 2021.
Lisa Blunt Rochester with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, May 26, 2021.

Blunt Rochester ran for the United States House of Representatives in Delaware's at-large congressional district in the 2016 election.[8] She won the Democratic Party nomination on September 13 by winning 44% in five-candidate primary, defeating state Senator Bryan Townsend and venture capital firm owner Sean Barney [9] and the general election against Republican Wyoming Mayor Hans Reigle on November 8.[10] When she was sworn into office on January 3, 2017, she became the first woman and the first African-American to represent Delaware in Congress.[10] During her swearing-in, she carried a scarf imprinted with her great-great-great-grandfather's Reconstruction Era voter registration card. He had been a slave.[7]


On December 18, 2019, Blunt Rochester voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.[11]

During the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Blunt Rochester was ushered into a secure room with fellow members of Congress. Despite House rules on mask mandates, multiple Republican members, including Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, abstained from wearing a mask. A clip went viral of Blunt Rochester offering masks to her Republican colleagues, with some appearing to decline the offer.[12] In the following days, multiple members, Democrats and Republicans alike, tested positive for COVID-19.[12]

Blunt Rochester voted to impeach Trump a second time on January 15, 2021.[13]

2020 presidential election

Blunt Rochester played an active role in the 2020 presidential election. After Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee in March 2020, his campaign named her one of its co-chairs.[14] At the end of April, Blunt Rochester was named a member of the vetting committee for Biden's vice presidential candidate selection.[15]

Rochester was a 2020 Democratic National Convention speaker.[16]


In 2023, Blunt Rochester was among 56 Democrats to vote in favor of H.Con.Res. 21, which directed President Joe Biden to remove U.S. troops from Syria within 180 days.[17][18]

Committee assignments

For the 118th Congress:[19]

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Blunt Rochester was married to her first husband, professional basketball player Alex Bradley, from 1982 to 2003. They met at Villanova University and lived in Europe while he played basketball professionally. They have two children together.[2] She met her second husband, Charles, later in 2003. They married in 2006.[2] Charles died in 2014.[1][7][5][24] He ruptured his Achilles tendon which caused blood clots to go to his heart and lungs.

Blunt Rochester identifies as a Protestant.[25]

While living abroad in China with her then-husband, Blunt Rochester co-authored the book Thrive: 34 Women, 18 Countries, One Goal.[26][27]

Electoral history

Election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
2016 U.S. House of


General Lisa Blunt Rochester Democratic 223,554 55.5% Hans Reigle Republican 172,290 41.0%
2018 U.S. House of


General Lisa Blunt Rochester Democratic 227,333 64.5% Scott Walker Republican 125,381 35.6%
2020 U.S. House of


General Lisa Blunt Rochester Democratic 280,612 57.6% Lee Murphy Republican 195,708 40.2%
2022 U.S. House of


General Lisa Blunt Rochester Democratic 178,416 55.5% Lee Murphy Republican 138,201 43%


See also


  1. ^ a b "Weddings". The News Journal. June 20, 1982. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nagengast, Larry (June 2017). "Lisa Blunt Rochester is Ready to Shake Things Up: Get to know Delaware's first black, first female congresswoman". Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 24, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Running for Congress, Rochester draws on experience". The News Journal. May 21, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Duvernay, Adam (November 10, 2016). "Rochester wins Delaware congressional race". The News Journal. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  6. ^ Gaudiano, Nicole (January 3, 2017). "Lisa Blunt Rochester sworn in, makes history". The News Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Page, Susan (March 16, 2017). "Groundbreaking congresswoman on race, gender and the Joe Biden Hybrid". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. For my swearing-in, I carried this with me. Part of this was to remember how far we've come, that a former slave's great-great-granddaughter is now a congresswoman.
  8. ^ Offredo, Jon; Jonathan, Starkey (October 26, 2015). "Former state labor secretary enters congressional race". The News Journal. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  9. ^ "Former Delaware Labor Secretary Lisa Blunt Rochester wins Democratic primary for U.S. House seat". The Washington Post. September 13, 2016. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Lisa Blunt Rochester Is Delaware's First Female and the First African American Representative – Rochester Elected to Congress". October 17, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Panetta, Grace. "WHIP COUNT: Here's which members of the House voted for and against impeaching Trump". Business Insider.
  12. ^ a b Keri Enriquez (January 9, 2021). "Republican members of Congress refuse to wear masks during Capitol insurrection". CNN. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  13. ^ Neiburg, Jeff. "Trump impeachment: Here's what the Delaware delegation had to say". The News Journal.
  14. ^ "Delaware Rep. Blunt Rochester joins Biden's campaign team: Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester will serve as co-chair for former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign". ABC News. Associated Press. March 6, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  15. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (April 30, 2020). "Biden announces running mate vetting committee". CBS News. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  16. ^ "Democrats Announce Additional Speakers and Schedule Updates for 2020 Democratic National Convention: "Uniting America"". 2020 Democratic National Convention. August 11, 2020. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "H.Con.Res. 21: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of … -- House Vote #136 -- Mar 8, 2023".
  18. ^ "House Votes Down Bill Directing Removal of Troops From Syria". US News. Associated Press. March 8, 2023. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  19. ^ "Lisa Blunt Rochester". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  20. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  21. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  22. ^ "Lawmakers Launch Caucus to Address Emerging Tech's Impact on Work". Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  23. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  24. ^ "Charles Rochester Obituary - Wilmington, DE | The News Journal". Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  25. ^ "Faith on the Hill: The religious composition of the 116th Congress" (PDF). Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. January 3, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  26. ^ "About Lisa". Lisa Blunt Democrat for Congress. January 10, 2016.
  27. ^ Blunt Rochester, Lisa; Guzman, Ale; Kuguru, Ruth (June 1, 2010). Thrive: Thirty-four Women, Eighteen Countries, One Goal. Grace Publishing Company Ltd. ISBN 978-9881922014.