Q&A with County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett

Lisa Bartlett

County Supervisor | Orange County, CA

Lisa BartlettTell us about your background. What are the experiences, including education, that make up the person you currently are?

BA Finance; MBA. Corporate executive in computer software firm (VP Legal & Admin) for 16 years. Dana Point City Council, from 2006 to 2014; Orange County Board of Supervisors, from 2014 to present. I have a passion for public service, take a fair and balanced approach to governance, and put policy over politics in decision-making every day.

What was your trigger moment and why this specific office?

I was the last person to enter the field for county supervisor because I was tracking the candidates and felt that we needed an experienced moderate candidate that could appeal to the majority of residents for this non-partisan office. The other candidates lacked requisite experience and were too extreme on the political spectrum which meant that it posed more challenges for governance.

What made you feel qualified to run for office?

Education, private sector management experience, and prior local elected office experience were major factors. Other motivating factors included my ability to build consensus, negotiate through difficult issues and determine a path for getting things done.

Do you work full-time or part-time?


Most people don’t know what their elected official does on a daily basis. What’s a typical day looking like for you?

12-18 hour workday, including many meetings, phone calls, and emails. A significant amount of time is spent each day working with my board office staff as well as county staff on outstanding items. I am also a member on 10+ other regional and/ or statewide boards or commissions. I also attend district events and activities on a regular basis.

Additionally, they might not know what their elected official is responsible for. What is your role in comparison to other elected offices on your level?

County supervisor is by far the most time-consuming of the elected offices. All of the elected offices are demanding but in different ways and elected officials are able to take a break from the schedule, whereas, at the county level, there is no pre-planned allotted time for any hiatus from the schedule.

What do you think people would be surprised to know someone in your position does?

As County supervisors, we are tasked with governing the county we represent and have far-reaching impacts on the decisions that we make every day.

What are 3-5 skills needed to be successful in the elected office you served in/are currently serving in?

The ability to multi-task at all times; the ability to get along with others; good communication skills (oral and written); keep an open mind and listen to others. Trust but verify the information you receive.

What’s the best part about serving in elected office?

It is so rewarding to be in a position of leadership and decision-making that can be so impactful to the residents we serve.

What has been the accomplishment you’re most proud of while in office?

Creating and implementing a comprehensive plan that creates much-needed county infrastructure and also creates a revenue stream by monetizing county assets.

In terms of finances, how much money did you have to raise for your campaign?

The campaign for county supervisor was $600,000. I raised over $400,000 and personally contributed $175,000.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s thinking about running for the position you serve/have served in their community?

Before you run for office, determine if there is a viable path to victory. You need to raise a substantial amount of money, obtain endorsements, hire a campaign team and understand the political landscape in your district and county. You need to know the key issues and be able to articulate your thoughts to the general public in order to gain their confidence in you and get their vote. I do not recommend running for office just for the sake of running to see what happens. Being a candidate is time-consuming and expensive and decisions should not be made lightly. You need to be truly passionate about public service to be successful.