M. Lorena Gonzalez is a member of the Seattle City Council in Washington, representing Position 9 At-Large. She assumed office in 2016. Her current term ends on December 31, 2021. Gonzalez is running for election for Mayor of Seattle in Washington. As one of two at-large (citywide) representatives and the first Latinx elected to serve the Seattle City Council, Councilmember M. Lorena González has over a decade of experience as a civil rights attorney and community advocate.
Councilmember González has served on various local, regional, and national non-profit boards, including OneAmerica, OneAmerica Votes, UnidosUS, Northwest Area Foundation, Latina/o Bar Association of Washington, and Washington State Association for Justice. She’s also a founding member of the National Advisory Committee for the Latino Victory Project—a national movement that builds power in the Latinx community so that the faces and voices of Latinos are reflected at every level of government and in the policies that drive our country forward.
Councilmember González has also served as co-chair to Casa Latina’s Capital Campaign, helping that organization raise $4 million dollars to build a state-of-the-art day laborer and worker education center in the Little Saigon neighborhood of Seattle.
She was born and raised in a migrant farm-working family in central Washington that never knew what the next day or following season might bring. Lorena earned her first paycheck at the age of eight as a migrant farmworker in the fields of Central Washington working alongside her parents and five siblings. As a child, Seattle was a faraway dream, one she aspired to be part of as she grew up.
As a teenager, a farmworker at the labor camp Lorena lived in was beaten so badly by an orchard owner that she vowed, if she ever got off the farms, she’d find a way to fight for justice for everyone. Lorena worked her way through community college, working three jobs. She later attended Washington State University, earned a business degree at WSU, then earned her Juris Doctorate, with honors, from Seattle University School of Law, making her the first and only attorney in her immediate and extended family. She went to work as a civil rights attorney, fighting for the rights of workers, victims of wage theft and employment discrimination, and victims of police misconduct and sexual abuse.
She moved to Seattle in 2002 to attend Seattle University Law School, where she graduated with honors in 2005. Since moving to Seattle, Councilmember González has lived in Capitol Hill, First Hill, Ballard, South Park and White Center. She currently lives in the West Seattle Junction neighborhood (District 1) with her husband and their one-year-old daughter, Nadia Luciana.
She was a partner at Schroeter Goldmark & Bender. González was a founding member of the National Advisory Committee for the Latino Victory Project and served as co-chair of Casa Latina’s Capital Campaign. In 2020, members of the Seattle City Council elected her to serve as council president.
Councilmember González has been recognized locally and nationally for her work in and out of the courtroom and has been awarded multiple recognitions.