She’s a fighter, a tested and proven advocate, and a grade-A urbanist. – The Urbanist
Her ability to think critically and independently is no surprise. She has a storied history of overcoming challenges. – The Seattle Times
Lorena Gonzalez is the real deal. As the child of migrant farm workers, she is well suited to understand the social justice ramifications of the digital divide. – Upgrade Seattle
M. Lorena González, a nationally recognized attorney, civil rights leader, has recently served as a senior advisor and legal counsel to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
Before working for the Murray Administration, Lorena represented women, older workers, low-wage workers and people of color in employment, wage theft, and gender discrimination cases. In the past year, she has helped set policy and implement historic minimum wage and worker protections alongside the Mayor, unions and progressive leaders throughout Seattle.
She is the President Emeritus of OneAmerica, the State’s largest immigrant and civil rights organization, based in Seattle and served on the Seattle Police Accountability Review Panel in 2007. Committed to transparency, Lorena served on the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
Lorena has dedicated countless hours to volunteering and helping those in need when she developed a community-private partnership to organize a free monthly bilingual legal clinic, which has provided legal services to more than 2,000 low-income Seattle residents since 2007. Since then, other organizations have duplicated this legal clinic model throughout the city to serve other underrepresented communities.
Lorena is the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico. She is a native Washingtonian who grew up in Washington’s Lower Yakima Valley, where she and her family worked as migrant farm workers. She is one of 6 children raised in a Spanish-speaking household and earned her first paycheck when she was 8 years old.
Lorena worked and relied on scholarships and need-based grants, including Pell grants and work study, to attend Yakima Valley Community College and Washington State University before moving to Seattle in 2002 to attend law school.
Lorena is a Past President of the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington’s (LBAW) Board of Directors and was a member of that board from 2003–2008. In 2009, the Hispanic National Bar Association recognized her as one of seven Top Lawyers Under 40 in the country. Washington Law & Politics has recognized Lorena as a Rising Star in Employment Law from 2010-2014.
In recognition of her exceptional leadership and devoted service to civil rights law, the WSBA’s Civil Rights Section awarded Lorena with its Distinguished Service Award in 2010. She was also the 2011 recipient of Seattle University’s School of Law Alumni Service Award and in 2012, Lorena was honored by the Thomas C. Wales Foundation at their Night Among Heroes for her extraordinary work in the courtroom and community.
Lorena currently lives in West Seattle where she enjoys our city with her friends, family and dog Hugo.
Hear Lorena’s story as a first-time candidate on NPR’s The Takeaway with John Hockenberry:
Learn more about Lorena below, as she tells her story about growing up in a migrant farmworker household in Central Washington.