Manka Dhingra

Manka Dhingra (born 1973 or 1974)[2] is an Indian-American attorney and politician who is a Washington State senator. A member of the Democratic Party, she was elected to represent the 45th legislative district, on Seattle's Eastside in King County, during a 2017 special election.[3] Dhingra is the first Sikh elected to any state legislature in the United States.[4]

Manka Dhingra
Manka Dhingra 02.jpg
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 45th district
Assumed office
November 29, 2017
Preceded byDino Rossi
Personal details
Born1973–1974 (age 46–47)[1]
Bhopal, India
Political partyDemocratic (2016–present)
Other political
Independent (before 2016)
Spouse(s)Harjit Singh
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA)
University of Washington (JD)

Dhingra, an Indian immigrant, founded the woman's advocacy organization API Chaya in 1996, and later worked under several elected officials at the state level. She joined the King County Prosecuting Attorney's office in 2000 and has led the department's expanding mental health and veterans courts.

Early life and educationEdit

Dhingra was born in Bhopal, India to a Sikh family; her father worked for Union Carbide and her mother was a schoolteacher. After her father died of colon cancer, Dhingra moved to California with her mother at the age of 13,[2] joining her relatives.[5] She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, earning a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science in 1995,[2] before moving with her husband to Redmond, Washington.[5]


Dhingra founded Chaya, a non-profit organization to combat domestic violence against South Asian women, in 1996.[6] She would later work in the offices of state Supreme Court justice Barbara Madsen and the Attorney General Christine Gregoire, while earning a degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1999.[5][6] Dhingra joined the King County Prosecuting Attorney's office in 2000 and served as a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for King County. Her work in the office's mental health court and the King County District Court Regional Veterans Court earned membership in various mental health and anti-hate crime advocacy organizations.[2][5]

Dhingra identified herself as a nonpartisan prior to the 2016 presidential election. A few months after attending her first Democratic meeting,[7] she declared her candidacy for the special election created by the death of Republican Andy Hill.[1][8] Dhingra defeated Jinyoung Englund, the Republican nominee, on November 7, 2017 with 55% of the votes. Dhingra's election overturned the Republican coalition majority in the Washington State Senate, giving the Washington Democratic Party complete control over the state's government for the first time since 2012.[9][10] She was sworn in on November 29 and became the first Sikh woman to enter a state legislature.[4][11] Dhingra was named as the deputy majority leader in the Senate and assigned as the chair of the Behavioral Health Subcommittee.[12] She retained the 45th district seat by being re-elected in 2018.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Dhingra met her husband, Harjit Singh, while at the University of California, Berkeley.[5] Singh works for SpaceX in Redmond.[14] The couple have two teenage children.[2]


  1. ^ a b Corte, Rachel La; Press, Associated (November 8, 2017). "AP declares Manka Dhingra winner in state Senate race; Dems in control". KOMO. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Janice Nesamani (May 4, 2017). "Manka Dhingra talks about her Senate seat plans". Northwest Asian Weekly. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Washington Secretary of State (November 7, 2017). "November 7, 2017 General Election". Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Haniffa, Aziz (August 4, 2017). "High-stakes showdown in Washington State". India Abroad. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e O'Sullivan, Joseph (October 22, 2017). "Trump victory helped propel Eastside Democrat into high-stakes Senate race". The Seattle Times. p. B1. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Knauf, Ana Sofia (August 23, 2017). "Meet Manka Dhingra, the Eastside Democrat Who Could End Republican Control of the State Senate". The Stranger. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Barabak, Mark Z. (November 6, 2017). "With Washington statehouse at stake, Democrats seek to build a West Coast wall of Trump resistance". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "About Manka Dhingra". Committee to Elect Manka Dhingra. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  9. ^ Jennifer Bendery (November 8, 2017). "Democrats In Washington State Win Full Control Of The Government". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  10. ^ O'Sullivan, Joseph (November 8, 2017). "Democrat Manka Dhingra defeats Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund in state Senate race". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  11. ^ Sundell, Allison (November 29, 2017). "Dhingra sworn in, Democrats gain control of both chambers". KING 5 News. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Santos, Melissa (April 5, 2019). "With Jay Inslee running for president, here's who might lead WA next". Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Baumgarten, Mark; Stang, John (November 6, 2018). "State Democrats tighten hold on Olympia". Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  14. ^ "Senior deputy King County prosecutor to challenge for 45th District senate seat". Kirkland Reporter. February 13, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017.

External linksEdit