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Lisa Wong

Senior Fellow, Governing Institute

Mayor Lisa Wong served four terms as Mayor of the city of Fitchburg.  Elected to that office at the age of 28, Mayor Wong is the youngest female and the first Asian American female elected mayor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

During her career, Mayor Wong’s work on community engagement, environmental issues, education and public health received numerous recognitions. Her work to engage immigrants has been featured on CNN and she chaired a national environmental justice task force as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Government Advisory Committee. Her FUN and FITchburg initiative to lower childhood obesity and target health disparities led to one of the largest drops in childhood obesity rates in the country. Mayor Wong has been named the Conservationist of the Year from the Trustees of Reservations, the Blue Green Hero award from the Ocean River Institute, the School Committee Member of the Year from the MA Association of School Committees, and the Gateway Cities Champion Award from MassINC.

Mayor Wong restored fiscal stability to Fitchburg, notably by increasing the stabilization fund, increasing the bond rating several times, reorganizing city departments, reducing health care costs, and instituting energy efficiency projects throughout the city. She attracted jobs and major investment into Fitchburg through smart growth planning projects, including reinvestment in vacant mills and the $100 million development of an indoor water resort. As co-chair of the Massachusetts Gateway Cities Initiative, Mayor Wong helped to develop new funding and incentive programs to attract inner city development and save manufacturing jobs. 

Mayor Wong is engaged in training and recruiting women, youth and people of color to become politically active. She served as a Research Fellow for the Women’s Pipeline for Change from 2011-2012 and the Massachusetts State Director for the Young Elected Officials Network from 2014-2015. She is a regular speaker at the National Education for Women Leadership New England program at Saint Anselm College, the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative, the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact, and other leadership programs across the country. 

Mayor Wong previously served as the Executive Director for the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority, and as the Executive Director of the Women’s Institute of Housing and Economic Development. She also taught Global Economics at the University of Wyoming and worked in human rights. She has a dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and International Relations and a Master of Arts in Economics, both from Boston University. She is an avid backpacker and swimmer, and founded a Special Olympics Swim Team. She is married to Anthony Soto and is the proud stepmother of four amazing children, including two that are actively serving in the Marines.