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Meet Lisa Middleton, the first openly transgender City Council member in California

Lisa Middleton is the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Palm Springs City Council.
Lisa Middleton is the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Palm Springs City Council.

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Voters turned out earlier this week for the first nationwide election day since Donald Trump won the presidency. In California, Lisa Middleton made history. She's the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in the state. 

Other trans individuals also broke ground around the country.  In Virginia, Danica Roem was voted in as the first openly transgender state representative in the U.S. And in Minneapolis, Minn., Andrea Jenkins became the first transgender black woman to be elected to public office. 

Take Two sat down with Lisa Middleton, newly elected to the Palm Springs City Council, on her approach to local issues as well as national concerns. 

Interview Highlights:

The increase of openly trans individuals in politics

Certain far-right groups and those who are opposed to the equality of LGBTQ groups have identified trans individuals as a preferred target. That fact has certainly encouraged many of us who are transgender to step up to provide the alternative example, and to demonstrate why a diverse population is the best way to move forward. 

Local issues in Palm Springs

Issues in Palm Springs are local issues: fire services, road repairs, pensions, homelessness, renewable energy. We need a permanent housing solution. Right now, Palm Spring does not have any overnight housing for the homeless. I'm looking into working together with Coachella Valley to build a regional system to provide housing solutions.  

Balance between visitors and residents

One question really encapsulates this balance. Is Palm Springs a small town of communities, or a world-class destination? The answer is both! This all comes down to keeping communities noise free and welcoming. We need to have our hospitality industry and our local neighborhoods talking with one another, and working with each other. Our residents enjoy the quality of life that is made possible by the fact that we have millions of visitors each year. 

(Interview has been edited for clarity)

For more on the short-term rental problems in Palm Springs, click on the blue media player above