11 May Lisa Middleton MPA ’79
With her election to the Palm Springs City Council in November 2017, Lisa Middleton became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in the state of California. Representing the desert resort city, she serves on the Riverside County Transportation Commission, the Sunline Board of Directors, the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy and three Coachella Valley Association of Governments committees: Transportation, Energy & Environment and Conservation.
The first member of her family to attend college, Middleton went to East Los Angeles College before going on to graduate from UCLA and earn a Master of Public Administration degree from the USC Price School of Public Policy. She worked for the State Compensation Insurance Fund of California for 36 years, finishing her tenure there as senior vice president of internal affairs with executive responsibility for internal audit, fraud investigation, public records and governance.
Passionate about service, Middleton has long identified as a community activist. In the 1990s, she used her professional expertise to help San Francisco pass a trans-inclusive healthcare policy, the first of its kind in the nation. Working with the healthcare board’s actuary, she provided the information needed to make accurate cost estimates for the city and the county. As a result, the policy was implemented in 2001.
Prior to her election to the city council, Middleton served as a member of the Palm Springs Planning Commission and as chair of the Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs. She is a board member for Neighborhoods USA, the Equality California Institute and the Desert LGBTQ Center.