COMMUNITY LEADER & ACTIVIST
Lisa Middleton is a community activist and longtime public servant who currently serves as the Mayor of Palm Springs. When she was first elected to the City Council in 2017, Middleton became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial political office in the state of California and she is now the first transgender Mayor in California's history.
On the Palm Springs City Council, Lisa has helped improve local transportation systems, ensure full lived quality for LGBTQ residents, combat our climate crisis, supported local businesses, and worked to combat homelessness and enhanced affordable housing. Lisa also worked to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic particularly by enacting hero pay for essential workers, helping to distribute vaccines and PPE, and implementing some of the strongest COVID-19 protections in the state for tenants, workers, and local businesses.
Additionally, Lisa currently serves on the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and the Sunline Transit Board of Directors, where she works with partners from neighboring cities to provide high-quality transportation services to the region. She is also a dedicated regional and statewide leader as a member of the CalPERS Board of Administration and League of California Cities (Cal Cities) Board of Directors. She is currently the President of Cal Cities Riverside County Division. She previously served as Chair of the Cal Cities Revenue & Taxation Policy Committee and as a member of the California State Department of Transportation Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force.
Prior to her election to the City Council, Lisa served as a member of the Palm Springs Planning Commission, Chairwoman of the Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS), and Interim Executive Director of the Desert LGBTQ Center.
In April 2019, Lisa was appointed to the Board of Administrators of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), which provides pensions to 1.9 million people and health benefits to over 1.5 million people with investment assets exceeding $450 billion. She serves as Chair of the organization’s Risk & Audit Committee and Vice Chair of the Governance Committee
This came after Lisa retired from her 36 year-career with California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund, where she moved her way up the ranks. Her first job in government entailed performing workers compensation audits in the factories and meat-packing plants not far from where she grew up. At her retirement, she was the Senior Vice President of Internal Affairs; she also previously Chaired California’s Fraud Assessment Commission.
A first-generation college student who grew up in a working-class community in East Los Angeles, Lisa is a graduate of UCLA and USC, receiving her Master’s in Public Administration from USC. Lisa has been widely recognized for her work, earning awards from the California Workers Compensation Institute, Palm Springs Pride Association, Equality California, Democratic Women of the Desert, SAGE/LGBT Senior Advocates and the California State Legislative LGBTQ Caucus.
Together since 2000, Lisa and her wife Cheryl married in 2013 shortly after they moved to Palm Springs. Lisa is also the proud parent of two accomplished educators.