National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester Thanks Advisors for the Work They Do

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester: "I wanted you to see someone in Washington who is still smiling..."
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) told a gathering of more than 100 insurance and financial advisors at NAIFA’s annual Advocacy Meeting and Day on Capitol Hill the story of how she rose to become the first woman and the first person of color elected to Congress from the state of Delaware.
She also told a moving story of personal loss and how life insurance and financial services professionals helped her through an extremely difficult time in her life.
Rochester had spent much of her career as a public servant, first as a case worker for former Congressman Tom Carper and later serving in the administrations of two Delaware governors as secretary of labor, deputy secretary of health and social services, and state personnel director.
Her life changed dramatically in 2014 when her husband – “the love of my life,” she told NAIFA attendees – died suddenly and unexpectedly. At that point, she began to question everything: “Why did it happen? Why are we on this planet?” She also focused on others around her who were experiencing loss: from parents who had lost children to violence to families who had lost their homes in the financial crisis.
“I asked myself, ‘What can I give?’” she said. “People’s stories from around my state kept motivating me.”
She decided, though she had never run for elected office, to run for Congress. She was elected to office in 2016 and won her re-election bid this fall.
But there is more to the story, Blunt Rochester told the gathered NAIFA members. As she dealt with the toughest situation she had faced in her life and made decisions that would shape her future, she relied on the help of financial professionals.
“I was blessed, because we planned,” she said. “When we first got married, we saw someone and talked about insurance and our financial plan. We assumed that no day is promised, so we planned.”
And as she grieved, her financial professionals were there for her.
“The woman who became one of my best friends was my financial planner,” Blunt Rochester said. “She jumped in and helped me with everything I needed.”
Blunt Rochester said she had two main motivations for speaking to NAIFA members. First, she wanted to thank advisors for the work they do and through her story give them an opportunity to “connect it to a real person.”
“What you do is so important,” she said. “And there are so many Americans who are not saving, not planning.”
Second, Blunt Rochester said she wanted to give NAIFA members a positive message about Congress and Washington, D.C. She assured them that she and her colleagues are looking for common ground to advance bipartisan objectives, for example, on legislation to promote retirement savings.
The congresswoman shows her great-great-great grandfather's voter registration card.
“I wanted you to see someone in Washington who is still smiling, who is still optimistic,” she said.
The congresswoman closed by showing NAIFA members a scarf with a printed image of a post-Civil War Georgia voter registration card obtained by her ancestor.
“I am the great-great-great granddaughter of a slave,” she said. “Today, I stand before you as the first woman and the first person of color to represent The First State in Congress. This is who we are as a nation.”
  • Posted November 29, 2018 IN

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