In a year with a record-breaking 56 candidates filing for Seattle’s City Council elections, we’re proud to announce that ours was the only campaign in the entire city to qualify for office by collecting signatures! With 3,500 signatures from voters in District 3, we collected almost 3 times the required number in 3 weeks time.
Some of our volunteers holding our stack of 3,500 filing petition signatures
To file for office, candidates in King County must either pay 1% of the elected position’s annual salary or collect a similar number of signatures from residents in their district. Most candidates pay the fee to run for office, but Kshama Sawant has always done so by collecting petition signatures. As an entirely grassroots campaign, we see collecting signatures as huge opportunity to talk to thousands of people in our district about how we can fight for the city working people in Seattle need.
Seattle’s City Councilmembers pay themselves $130,000/year, the second highest of any city in the country, while our city is increasingly becoming a playground for the rich. To stay accountable to working people in Seattle, Kshama Sawant accepts only an average worker’s wage, donating the rest of my salary to grassroots social movements.
Over 100 volunteers knocked on doors, canvassed on busy streets across Capitol Hill, and talked to our neighbors at parks in our District. But it was an easy task, because there is a deep hunger amongst working people in Seattle for the kinds of bold policies that Kshama champions, such as rent control and a tax on Amazon and big business to create thousands of affordable, socially-owned homes.
In April, Councilwoman Kshama Sawant introduced two measures for renters’ rights: 1) A comprehensive, citywide rent control ordinance without corporate loopholes; and 2) An economic evictions assistance ordinance, which is needed to immediately protect tenants against huge rent increases.
In addition to the 3,500 people our re-election campaign have already talked to about rent control to address Seattle’s sky high housing costs, Kshama’s Council Office staff have quickly collected another 1,500 signatures from people who have signed her petition for rent control. We plan to use this election year to launch an all out fight to pass rent control in Seattle and to overturn the state’s undemocratic ban.
While the real-estate lobby will try to whip up fears about rent control, just as big business spread propaganda against the $15 minimum wage, to many of the thousands of renters who signed up to get Kshama on the ballot rent control is a no-brainer. Greyson, one of our field organizers, reported how while doorknocking in the Central District wearing a “Re-Elect Kshama Sawant” t-shirt, someone ran up to ask how they could join the fight for rent control, because they’d heard about it from their friends. One supporter had a difficult time signing the filing fee petition, because they had been economically evicted and forced to move 3 times in the past year. When asked if they supported rent control for Seattle, they responded, “duh!” Others had questions about what kind of rent control we were fighting for, and enthusiastically signed to support our call for citywide policy without “vacancy decontrol” or other corporate loopholes.
Already, the Chamber’s corporate PAC (CASE) has amassed a war chest of over $700,000, $200,000 of that from Amazon alone. Like always, Kshama Sawant is not for sale: she doesn’t accept donations from business lobbyists, big developers, CEOs, or corporations. We need your help to stop Amazon and big business from buying this election. Please join our volunteer team and donate today.