Lisa Middleton

State Senate, District 28

Lisa will be the first out trans member of the California legislature!


Lisa Middleton is a neighborhood advocate, longtime public servant and member of the Palm Springs City Council, where she has delivered pragmatic, common-sense solutions to some of the Coachella Valley’s greatest challenges. On the City Council, Lisa has helped improve local transportation systems, combat climate change, build more affordable housing and address the region’s homelessness crisis. As Mayor in 2022, Lisa led the City’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic — helping small businesses reopen and create good-paying jobs.

When Lisa was first elected to the City Council in 2017, she made history as the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial political office in the state of California. In 2022, she served as the first transgender Mayor in California’s history. If elected to the Senate, Lisa would make history again as the first out transgender person to serve in the California Legislature.

Lisa currently represents Palm Springs 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 a member of the CalPERS Board of Administration — helping build retirement and health security for 1.5 million California state and local school employees, retirees and their families — and Second Vice President of the League of California Cities (Cal Cities). Lisa also serves on Equality California Institute’s Board of Directors. 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.