Blind Filipino-American Civil Rights Attorney Gets Elected As West Covina City Council Member

Filipino-American Ollie Cantos, who was born with a visual impairment, is now taking his experience and knowledge to West Covina City Hall.

In 1997, he graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles with a law degree. He served as a staff attorney at the Disability Rights Legal Center after graduating. He also held various roles as a civil rights attorney in the Washington, D.C. government before the coronavirus emerged.

Now, he is a sworn-in member of the West Covina city council and is looking forward to contributing back to his community, where he was raised by his Filipino immigrant parents.

“My excitement level is off the charts because this represents the culmination of a lot of hard work of countless people that got us here and when we look at the opportunities that are ahead of us to unite, and to be supportive of making the city better, this day is also historic,” Cantos said in an interview.

Cantos will collaborate with a fellow Filipino on the current city council, as Letty Lopez-Viado, the first Filipino-Mexican mayor of the city, was also elected unopposed in November. She was first elected to the city council in 2018 and served as mayor of the city from 2020 to 2021.

“Though he can’t see with his eyes, he sees with his heart,” Lopez-Viado said of Cantos as she got sworn in. “He’s a very intelligent, well-spoken gentleman, and I’m very excited to work with him.”