Meet the People Making 2017 the Year of the Trans Candidate

02 Lisa Middleton

Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs City Council

Lisa Middleton is running to become the first transgender member of the Palm Springs, Calif., City Council, and the first trans person elected to a nonjudicial office in California. Council members in the LGBT-friendly desert city are elected on a citywide, nonpartisan basis, and there are two seats up for election November 7; Middleton is one of seven who have declared their candidacy so far.

Endorsed by Victory Fund and Equality California, she is a member of the Palm Springs Planning Commission, chairwoman of the Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS), and a member of the boards of directors of the Desert Horticulture Society and the Desert LGBTQ Center. In 2014, she was the center’s interim executive director.

She retired after serving 36 years with California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund, where at her retirement she was the senior vice president of internal affairs with executive responsibility for internal audit, fraud investigation, public records, and governance.

“Palm Springs is the best place that I have ever lived and I pledge to work to keep it that way,” Middleton says on her campaign website. “My foundation is our neighborhoods. I know the people of this city and have the leadership ability to get things done. As Chair of ONE-PS and a Planning Commissioner, I have built coalitions and brought people together on a multitude of issues — ranging from the revitalization of downtown to sustainable development projects to neighborhood safety — that have improved the city for all of us.”

“Our city and our city government have been through a trial,” she continues, apparently a reference to the scandal that brought down former Mayor Steve Pougnet, who has been charged with bribery. “We have a choice — will it divide us or make us stronger? I have spent my adult life in government and I know how to make it work. I am committed to a city government that reflects our best and, from a 36-year career in public service, have the experience to make our control systems and review processes stronger and more effective.”

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