Foundation Gala 2007 - Pettis Award

2006 Recipient
Arlene Willis Lewis

Arlene Willis Lewis, a lifetime resident of San Bernardino County, is Chief of Staff and wife to Congressman Jerry Lewis, who represents the 41st District of California.

Arlene, a graduate of San Bernardino High School, began her career as a legal assistant working for several San Bernardino and Los Angeles law firms. She began her work in politics in 1967, as a district office assistant for Congressman Jerry Pettis, who then represented all of San Bernardino County. In 1968, she became the Administrative Assistant to newly-elected Assemblyman Jerry Lewis, working first in his local office and moving to Sacramento in 1974. During that time Arlene was instrumental in the creation of the Child Development Act of 1972, which has since become a national model for innovative childcare.

In 1978, Jerry Lewis was elected to the U.S. Congress and Arlene joined his Washington, D.C. office, continuing her role as his Chief of Staff. In her duties in Washington, Arlene has assisted Congressman Lewis in spearheading a number of important national and local issues. Local projects she has worked on include the development of the innovative Lewis Center for Education Research in Apple Valley and creation of a new Boys and Girls Club of Redlands. Arlene has also assisted in obtaining resources for a number of youth recreational facilities in the community including the Lewis Family Swim Center in San Bernardino, the Barstow Municipal Pool, the Apple Valley Family Aquatic Center, and the Yucaipa Recreational Park.

Additionally, Arlene has mentored and assisted numerous local young people through public service internships, fellowships, and nominations to the nation's military academies. Arlene is active in several charities including Foundation and Guilds for Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, the Boys and Girls Club, the Foundation for Fighting Blindness, and N Street Village.

Arlene and Jerry, married in 1986, currently reside in Redlands. Arlene has three children and four stepchildren, as well as eight grandchildren.