As your city councilmember, I’ve fought tirelessly over the last six years to represent working people and help bring your voices into Seattle City Hall. Together we’ve built powerful movements and won historic victories!
I’m proud to have helped lead the way in making Seattle the first major city to pass a $15 minimum wage, through a powerful coalition with labor unions, 15 Now, Socialist Alternative, community organizations, and grassroots activists. As your City Councilmember and a rank-and-file member of the American Federation of Teachers Local 1789, I've stood in solidarity with union bus drivers, paramedics, maintenance workers, and educators when they've gone on strike. Our council office has worked alongside movements to win millions of dollars for affordable housing, passed a series of landmark renters’ rights victories, replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day, stopped the “Stepping Forward” public housing attack which would have raised rents by 400%, passed crucial funding for LGBTQ services, protected the Showbox, and won many more gains for working people and oppressed communities in Seattle and District 3.
This year’s city elections are a referendum on who runs Seattle - Amazon and big business or working people. We have built a powerful grassroots campaign to defend our seat for working people in City Hall and to defeat the attempts of big business to buy the elections. Last year’s Tax Amazon struggle showed how far Amazon and big business are prepared to go. Jeff Bezos threatened 7,000 jobs to try to defeat the Amazon Tax, then applied intensive backroom pressure to force its repeal a month after it was unanimously passed by the City Council. We need more, not fewer, working-class representatives who will stand up to corporate bullying. That's why we've worked to build a grassroots alliance of progressives and socialists in 2019 to fight for the city we need and to prevent the hostile corporate takeover of City Hall backed by Amazon and big business.
Amazon's unprecedented and undemocratic $1.5 million dollar attempt to buy Seattle's elections must be defeated, if we are to address our city's affordable housing and homelessness crisis, and make big business pay their fair share of taxes.
Seattle is rapidly becoming a playground for the rich, while working people, small businesses, people of color, and LGBTQ people are being rapidly gentrified out of our city. The for-profit housing market has failed us. Our city has been the national leader in the number of construction cranes three years running, yet the crisis of affordable housing in Seattle remains among the worst in the country, with the average rent now over two thousand dollars a month.
Seattle needs rent control, citywide and without corporate loopholes, to stop skyrocketing rents. We need to build tens of thousands of units of social housing, paid for by taxing Amazon and big business, to provide a public alternative to the broken private development system. In the midst of this crisis, luxury apartments are sitting vacant all over downtown and South Lake Union — we need a vacancy tax on big developers and property-owning corporations.
Meanwhile, skyrocketing housing costs and weak tenant rights laws have combined to lead to an epidemic of evictions. On average, one of our neighbors in District 3 is evicted every other day, while three out of four people who were evicted reported that they could pay all or some portion of the rent owed if a reasonable payment plan was offered. Meanwhile, the total amount of back rent owed by everyone facing eviction in 2017 was a little under $1 million, less than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes in a single day.
Our transportation systems, schools, healthcare, and other vital social services are at the breaking point. This crushing reality falls hardest on working class people, women, immigrants, the indigenous community, communities of color, and our LGBTQ neighbors. We need to tax big business and the super rich to create a world-class, free mass transit system and fully fund public services.
In the era of Trump, we need city councilmembers who will consistently stand up against his bigoted, billionaire-backed agenda and fight alongside those in the crosshairs of his attacks.
Over the last five years as your city councilmember, I’ve seen firsthand the corrosive effects of corporate power and lobbyists in the back rooms of City Hall. That’s why my campaign is not for sale. As always, to be fully accountable to working people in Seattle, I don’t take a dime from corporations, CEOs, business lobbyists, or big developers. My campaign is fueled entirely by grassroots donations. I accept only the average worker’s wage of $40,000 after taxes, donating the rest of my $130,000 salary to grassroots social movements.
As a member of Socialist Alternative, I wear the badge of socialist with honor, and I’m excited to see candidates identifying as socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning elections across the country. This shows that millions of Americans are looking for a different kind of politics, based on the needs of working people and the environment, not the interests of the billionaire class and big business. I think a key part of that process is building a new political party completely independent of corporate money, that fights unapologetically for working people and the oppressed, and is rooted in social movements, community organizations, and labor unions. I hope you will join me in the struggle for a democratic socialist society — a society based on cooperation and solidarity, run democratically by and for working people, where everyone can work and live in dignity.
This year, I'm excited to see socialist and working-class candidates running for Seattle City Council to challenge the corporate domination of City Hall.
Like you, I want to live in a city rooted in social justice and affordable to all. But fighting unapologetically for working people also means making powerful enemies. It's precisely because big business and profit-driven developers know the high stakes of this election that they have spent over $4 million in corporate cash to try to buy City Hall.
We can fight back. What’s at stake for working people, small businesses, people of color, and LGBTQ people is the soul of our city. But defeating Amazon and the corporate political establishment in this election cannot happen without you getting involved.