Mercer Island Reporter


Council would benefit from Wong's character, attributes

October 17, 2013 · 5:12 PM

Benson Wong will be a great City Councilmember. He cares deeply about improving our community and has dedicated thousands of hours to public service.

I first met Benson when his hair was thick and my waist wasn’t. As young lawyers in the early 1980s, we helped run the King County Bar’s free neighborhood legal clinic program.

Benson is committed to ensuring that access to justice is available to people who cannot afford a lawyer.

Social justice is also important to Benson. He was on the legal team that overturned the conviction of Seattle resident Gordon Hirabayashi for resisting the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the conviction in an infamous 1943 decision. In 1987, after six years of pro bono legal work, Benson and the other members of the defense team succeeded in persuading the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Mr. Hirabayashi’s conviction.

I’ve had the pleasure of serving with Benson on the boards of the King County Bar Association and its Young Lawyers Division. He’s currently the Vice Chair of the King County Bar Foundation, which raises money to support legal aid programs and provide law school scholarships for minority students.

Benson’s character and attributes will serve us well on the City Council. He’s smart, he’s tireless, and he listens very well. He commands respect for his thoughtful approach to policy issues and always doing what he thinks is best for the community.

Scott Smith



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