Biography

Senator Manka Dhingra

45th Legislative District
D-Redmond

Manka Dhingra is Deputy Majority Leader of the Washington State Senate. She brings two decades of experience as a prosecutor and behavioral health expert to her role as chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee. She also serves on the Behavioral Health Subcommittee and the Ways & Means Committee.

Dhingra was first elected to the Senate by the constituents of the 45th Legislative District in November 2017, the first Sikh state legislator elected in the nation. Since then, she has sponsored and passed legislation addressing a wide range of issue areas, including: curbing domestic violence and sexual assault, preventing firearm violence, providing property tax relief for seniors and people with disabilities, prosecuting financial fraud, and reforming the criminal justice system with an evidence-based approach.

During her time in the Senate, Dhingra founded the Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee and helped pass legislation and funding to transform the Washington State behavioral health system, reorienting it around prevention rather than crisis response. She continues to strive to ensure that Washingtonians with behavioral health needs get the treatment they need and deserve.

As a member of the Special Committee on Economic Recovery in 2020, she helped the state craft an economic plan to lead an equitable recovery from the COVID economic downturn. She also serves on several task forces dedicated to reducing poverty, reforming the criminal justice system, improving equity in state government, and providing a sound and fair fiscal footing for the state.

Dhingra continues to serve as a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. As Chair of the Therapeutic Alternative Unit, she helped develop and oversee the Regional Mental Health Court, the Veterans Court, and the Community Assessment and Referral for Diversion program. As a mental health and crisis intervention expert, she has also been an instructor at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission for the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers to reduce the risk of tragedy and improve the response to people in crisis.

Outside the courtroom, Dhingra is a community leader and anti-domestic violence advocate. She co-founded Chaya, an organization that assists South Asian survivors of domestic violence. She serves on the board of Hopelink, a nonprofit organization in Redmond working to end poverty in our community, and on the Behavioral Health, Aging, and Disability Steering Committee of NASHP — the National Academy for State Health Policy.

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