Dolores Sibonga, Filipina American lawyer, is appointed to the Seattle City Council in August 1978.

  • By Cynthia Mejia-Giudici
  • Posted 6/10/1999
  • Essay 1319
In August 1978, Dolores Sibonga (b. 1931), the first Filipina American lawyer in Washington state, takes her seat on the Seattle City Council. The Council appoints her to replace Phyllis Lamphere.

Sibonga was elected to the post the following March, 1979, for a full four year term. She served for a total of 12 years.

Sibonga -- who became the first Filipina American lawyer admitted to the Washington State Bar in 1973 -- ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 1989. She then failed to win the city council presidency. Still, her mayoral campaign brought many Asian Americans together to rally for her cause.

When her political career ended, Sibonga returned to her law practice. She also began writing for a Filipino American community newspaper. In recent years, she has served on several public commissions, including the Horse Racing Commission (for a two-year term ending in January 2000) and the Human Rights Commission (for a five-year term beginning in June 2000).

Sources: Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS); Isabelo T. Crisostomo, "Dolores Sibonga" in Profiles in Excellence: Filipino Achievers in the USA and Canada (Farmington Hills, MI: Brookhaus Publishers, l996), 309; Cynthia Mejia-Giudici Phone Interview with Dolores Sibonga, June 28, 1999.
Note: This essay was updated on August 29, 2004.

Related Topics:   Asian & Pacific Islander Americans | Biographies | Government & Politics | Law | Women's History

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