Thank you to the 75+ activists and community members who joined us for an incredible general election doorknocking kickoff for District 3’s socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant!
This year's primary election saw a flood of corporate cash, with our opponent Egan Orion benefiting from the most corporate PAC spending of any of the 55 candidates across the city! PAC spending is on track to shatter records for Seattle elections. This underscores what we’ve been saying all along: this election is about who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business or working people. As Kshama said in her speech at the kickoff rally, progressives and socialists need to unite to stop the Chamber of Commerce backed candidates who made it into all 7 city council races for the general election.
During Saturday’s kickoff we knocked on over 1500 doors with a volunteer team consisting of union members from UAW 4121, the Seattle Education Association (SEA) and more; middle and high school climate strikers; members of the Democratic Socialists of America and Socialist Alternative; and dozens of other supporters from the community. Many of our volunteers were out canvassing for their first time with our campaign, demonstrating the growing momentum for rent control and unity against the onslaught of corporate PAC money.
In the face of $1.7 million between 3 corporate PACs, the Kshama Sawant re-election campaign has built the strongest canvassing operation in the history of Seattle politics. Over 350 volunteers joined us to knock on 90,000 doors in the primary election. The $300,000 we raised came with a median donation of just $20 and more grassroots donors than any other candidate. We’ve used our doorknocking efforts not just to build support for Kshama Sawant, but also to invite community members to get involved in the movement for rent control.
As an unambiguous fighter for working class people, Councilmember Kshama Sawant has brought working people and our movements into City Hall. This year, big business is going all out to get a brazenly pro-corporate majority on the City Council. We must go all out to stop them from buying this election.
Join Team Kshama by adding your $15 donation, signing up to volunteer, and coming out to Bring the Rent Control Movement into City Hall on September 23, where the Seattle City Council's Renter's Rights Committee, chaired by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, will discuss a draft legislation for universal rent control for Seattle.
Please take one minute to register to join Councilmember Kshama Sawant on Thursday, September 26 at the Seattle City Council District 3 debate (tickets are free, but will go fast!). What’s at stake in this election is who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business or working people. As we face off against our corporate-backed opponent, we need all our supporters out to make sure the political establishment hears loud and clear: we will not let the Chamber of Commerce buy this election!
For this year’s primary election, Amazon poured $250,000 into the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC (CASE). But that was just their down payment.
Now that Chamber-backed candidates have made it through in all seven of Seattle’s City Council races, Amazon has dumped another $200,000 into the CASE PAC, bringing their total to nearly half a million dollars.
Corporate PACs broke records with their spending during the primary alone. They are on track to triple the record, or more.
This level of PAC money in a local City Council election — nearly two million citywide, with $1.3 million in the CASE PAC alone — is completely unprecedented. But it also isn’t surprising.
A recent news story exposed some of the petty and vengeful tactics Amazon resorts to, like keeping a “burn book” of all those daring to speak out against the HQ2 handout of $3 billion. Here in Seattle, they are seeking revenge against the socialist who dared to stand against Bezos’ bullying during last year’s Tax Amazon struggle.
That’s why in a primary with a record-breaking 55 candidates running for office, our opponent Egan Orion received more corporate PAC money than any other candidate in the race.
Amazon is banking on Orion because they think he'll be another corporate politician who will loyally represent their interests on the City Council. They know that Councilmember Kshama Sawant is not.
We can’t let Amazon buy Seattle's elections. We need to unite progressives and socialists to fight back against the Corporate PACs. Your donation will help us build the strongest grassroots campaign possible to face off against Amazon’s massive war chest.
We’re honored to announce that Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien has endorsed Councilmember Kshama Sawant!
Councilmember O’Brien said: “Councilmember Sawant has pushed Seattle politics in a progressive direction in a way that few have. While I’m not a socialist, and Kshama and I have had our share of disagreements, we’ve worked together on many issues like the $15 minimum wage, the ‘Shell NO!’ campaign against Arctic drilling, on blocking the $160 million North police precinct, and now on the Green New Deal. Kshama is a strong woman of color who stands up to big business. I refute the negative attacks on her attempting to paint her as divisive because of her courageous positions. I find her to always be upfront, principled, and reliable, even if I don’t always agree with her theory of change or criticisms of other elected officials. We need to keep Kshama on the Council as a consistent voice for ordinary people, and to stand up to the attempts of the Chamber of Commerce to run City Hall.”
Kshama said in reply, “I’m honored to receive Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s endorsement. I’ve greatly valued working with Mike as a strong fellow progressive. We’ve found common ground fighting on many issues that have benefited Seattle’s working people.”
The stakes this year are higher than they have ever been. Across the city, pro-corporate candidates made it through the primaries in every district, backed by an unprecedented $1.7 million in corporate PAC money which aims to flip City Council to the right and roll back many of the progressive victories we’ve won over the years.
Now more than ever, working people and progressive candidates need to build a united movement to defeat corporate PAC money and win rent control, a tax on big business to build high quality social housing, and a Green New Deal.
We’re proud to be participating in a joint campaign event on September 15 with Tammy Morales (District 2) and Shaun Scott (District 4), calling for a Green New Deal in Seattle. Like Sawant, both Morales and Scott are facing pro-corporate opponents backed by the same Chamber of Commerce sponsored CASE PAC, though the PAC has spent the most for Egan Orion, our opponent in District 3.
Councilmember O’Brien joins a growing list of progressives supporting our re-election campaign, including The Stranger, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, The Urbanist, National Women’s Political Caucus, Nick Licata, Cary Moon, Nikkita Oliver, and Noam Chomsky, along with 15 labor unions representing workers in public schools, hotels, universities, the postal service, and healthcare.
There's no time to waste in the fight for a Green New Deal. On Thursday, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 11 billion tons of ice to the ocean — a number equivalent to worst-case scenario models for the year 2070. June was the hottest month ever recorded globally. Then July was even hotter.
To say we are facing a “climate emergency” is an understatement. That’s why it’s not enough for politicians to just give lip service to the problem. We need bold solutions and there is no time to waste.
That’s why Councilmember Kshama Sawant has been calling for Seattle to lead the way on climate action by implementing a Green New Deal for working people. We need to make Seattle 100% renewable by 2030, tax the rich to massively expand public transit, and make it fully electric and free at point-of-use. We can create thousands of well-paying union jobs with a major wind and solar program by Seattle public utilities and retrofitting homes and businesses to the highest efficiency standards.
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has given an initial $30,000 to the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC, the biggest of the corporate PACs against our campaign. More than 60% of PSE’s power in 2017 came from coal and natural gas, and less than 10% of their power comes from wind and solar. PSE and big business will do anything to stop us from winning a Green New Deal for Seattle. At the top of their list is defeating Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the socialist who makes things happen.
Kshama is one of the few candidates citywide calling for a Green New Deal, and the only one in District 3. To build the fighting movement needed to win, it is imperative that we defend Kshama’s seat on the Council against fossil fuel interests. We can’t let big business buy this election. We need your help.
Did you see that Bernie Sanders published an op-ed ahead of this week’s presidential debate explaining how rent control kept a roof over his head growing up? We agree with Bernie: working people need rent control.
With recent census data showing that Seattle is now the most expensive city in the country outside of California, we urgently need to lead on rent control to stop skyrocketing rents! Major cities all over the country are facing severe shortages of affordable housing. A victory in Seattle for universal rent control with no corporate loopholes could spark successful legislation for rent control in cities across the country.
But the real estate lobby fiercely opposes rent control because it limits their ability to maximize profits by gouging tenants. Here in Seattle, notorious developer Vulcan, big developers and real estate interests have poured nearly half a million into the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC. The PAC is spending far more against Councilmember Kshama Sawant than on any other race in the city, because Councilmember Sawant is using her seat to spearhead the struggle for rent control.
We are now just $10,000 away from reaching our fundraising goal of cancelling out Vulcan’s $80,000 check by the August 6 primary! But we have only 5 days left — there is no time to waste. Please donate $15, $50, or $100 today to #CancelOutVulcan.
Across the country, the for-profit housing system has failed working people. It’s enriching Wall Street investors while the working class struggles to access high-quality, affordable housing. We welcome Bernie Sanders supporting the millions of tenants organizing in cities across the country for rent control and stronger tenant protections, a topic that is both wildly popular and broadly ignored by establishment Democrats in the presidential race thus far.
We saw with the $15 minimum wage movement that working people organizing can change public opinion on what’s possible, and bold demands can go from being mocked to becoming mainstream. It took building a grassroots movement for $15/hr in our communities and workplaces, taking strike actions, and protesting at City Hall to force a vote on the $15 minimum wage.
Bernie Sanders should also use his profile to call on his supporters to get organized to fight for affordable housing for all, which includes taxing big business to build the affordable social housing we need.
But everything we win to make housing more equitable will still be vulnerable under capitalism — big developers and Wall Street won't give up their profits without a fight! We must build a stronger grassroots movement ready to not only challenge the big developers and corporate landlords, but to go further in harnessing the power of working people to fight for fundamental change. We need to fight for a society based on the needs of working people, not the greed of Wall Street speculators — a socialist society.
Join us in this fight! Donate today to #CancelOutVulcan, and save the date for our election night party: join us this Tuesday, August 6, 6-10pm at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (104 17th Ave S).
Amazon’s top executives have something in common with Vulcan, Comcast, Puget Sound Energy, and the Amazon corporation itself: they are afraid of Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
One of our opponents’ donor lists reads like a who’s who of Amazon’s top players, with big donations from over 15 of Amazon’s top executives. Over half of these executives are members of the “S Team,” Jeff Bezos’ closest advisors.
What’s at stake in this election is who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business or working people. Amazon hates that we stood up to their corporate blackmail last year. They were terrified by how close we came to winning last year’s Tax Amazon struggle, and they are afraid of how our movement will continue to grow if we win this re-election campaign.
While Amazon executives may be picking favorites, their top priority this election year is “anybody but Kshama Sawant” for Seattle’s District 3 seat — that’s why they’re hedging their bets.
For instance, Senior Vice President David Zapolsky, who oversees policy at Amazon, realizes that the best policy for Amazon is to protect Seattle’s regressive tax policy, so that Amazon can continue raking in record-breaking profits as Seattle’s homeless population grows. Top Amazon executive Zapolsky has given maxed out donations to both Zachary DeWolf and Egan Orion, as well as $5,000 to the “People for Seattle PAC.”
Headed up by former corporate City Councilmember Tim Burgess, the People for Seattle PAC is sending out a flood of mailer attacks against us. We're not the least bit surprised. Big business leaders are determined to buy this election because they are frustrated at the gains our movements have won for working people. And now the gloves have come off — as The Stranger reporter Rich Smith writes, “Honestly, I'm glad to see divisive mailers created by a politician who calls for the end of divisiveness in politics. The open hypocrisy is refreshing.”
Our opponents often say that they will “listen to everyone in the district.” Some of these multimillionaire Amazon executives live within the boundaries of Seattle’s District 3, but Councilmember Kshama Sawant doesn’t represent them.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant unambiguously represents working people like the Amazon workers who are standing up to Jeff Bezos to demand real climate action and the Amazon security officers who fought for, and won, their union (and we’re proud to have the endorsement of SEIU Local 6!). Kshama represents renters who are struggling to afford Seattle’s sky-high rents, and who are joining our movement for rent control. And Kshama represents all the working people who are burdened by Seattle’s regressive taxes and underfunded public services, and who are fighting to tax Amazon and Seattle’s biggest business.
That’s why our campaign is not for sale to Amazon executives, corporate PACs, business lobbyists, or big developers. We’re incredibly proud that our grassroots fundraising has already cancelled out Amazon’s big $200,000 donation from earlier this year. But we know that the corporate cash will only continue to flood in.
We’re incredibly proud of our grassroots campaign. Thanks to donations from thousands of working people — over 3 times more grassroots donors than any other District 3 campaign — we cancelled out Amazon’s big $200,000 PAC contribution from earlier this year! But we will only win this election with your help.
Big developers are determined to buy this election. Together, they have poured even more than Amazon has into CASE, the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC. Why? Seattle’s wealthiest for-profit developers are deeply afraid of our growing movement for rent control.
Kshama Sawant is the only District 3 candidate who has clearly said that yes, Seattle needs rent control. Big business interests know that Kshama Sawant doesn’t just make big promises when she’s running for office. She uses her seat to mobilize working people and renters into struggle, and she’s not afraid to stand up to corporate bullies. That’s why together, we’ve won big victories, from the $15 minimum wage to landmark protections for renters’ rights.
In total, big developers have already invested nearly half a million dollars for “anybody but Kshama Sawant for Seattle’s District 3 election. Corporate PAC contributions include:
💰💰💰 $155,000 from Vulcan, including a big $80,000 donation last month. Vulcan is the developer behind Amazon’s campus in South Lake Union and was one of Amazon’s biggest partners in repealing the Amazon Tax.
💰💰$50,000 from the Washington Association of Realtors and $45,000 from the commercial real estate development chapter Washington Chapter (NAIOP).
💰💰$40,000 each from Hedreen Holdings, LLC and R.C. Hedreen Co. which are behind the development of Seattle’s biggest luxury hotels.
💰Over $100,000 more from what reads like a who’s who of the biggest real-estate developers and investors in the Seattle area (as well as many of the biggest spenders in the effort to repeal the Amazon Tax, alongside Vulcan and the R.C. Hedreen Co.)
We won’t be able to match the big PAC money dollar for dollar. The way we will win this campaign will be by continuing to mobilize hundreds of volunteers and making sure that our message reaches tens of thousands of voters in District 3. But that will still require serious fundraising.
We need to ensure that every voter hears from us about the growing movement for rent control — not from big developer-funded corporate PAC mailers which are determined to spread propaganda and fear, just as big business did during our fight for a $15 minimum wage. You donation will make it possible to print tens of thousands of flyers with our message on rent control:
We have a goal of cancelling out Vulcan’s $80,000 donation by the August 6 primary. We’re over halfway there, but we need to get as close to this goal as possible before our big July fundraising deadline. Your donation to #CancelOutVulcan will send a powerful message that big developers can’t buy this election. Please donate today before our July fundraising deadline.
Two years ago, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant sponsored legislation to Tax the Rich. Through the leadership of the Trump-Proof Seattle coalition, which included the Economic Opportunity Institute, Transit Riders Union, Seattle Education Association, and Kshama’s Council Office, our grassroots movement fought for and won the historic ordinance to Tax Seattle's Rich!
Our movement had predicted that the ordinance would be challenged in the courts, due to two principal legal obstacles put in place decades ago by big business and the wealthy, who have an interest in preserving an unjust system. These legal obstacles have remained unchallenged, with successive City and State politicians refusing to take on big business and the wealthy. In a big victory for working people earlier this week, the WA Court of Appeals struck down one of those two legal objections to taxing wealthy households, giving the State Supreme Court the first opportunity in almost a century to rule in favor of progressive taxation in Washington State.
Seattle and Washington State have the nation’s most regressive tax systems. As a result, the rich get richer — with the world’s only two members of the $100 billion club residing in the Seattle region — as public education, affordable housing, social services, and infrastructure are abysmally underfunded. Unlike the regressive taxes in Seattle, which fall overwhelmingly on the shoulders of working people and the poor, our Tax the Rich ordinance would only tax incomes over $250,000. Because so much wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few millionaires and billionaires, a tiny 2.25% tax on Seattle’s richest residents would raise an estimated $140 million annually, enough to build almost 1,000 high-quality, affordable homes each year!
This ruling is a huge step forward towards taxing the rich, but our movement cannot afford to become complacent. This battle is not over. If we finally prevail in the courts, big business and the super rich will continue to use their power and wealth to undermine our victories. Working people will need to continue to organize and unite in powerful movements.
We saw how far Jeff Bezos and his billionaire buddies went last year to bully our city, following which a majority of City Councilmembers shamefully capitulated and repealed the Amazon tax on Seattle’s biggest businesses. The top priority for Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce this year is to try and drive Kshama Sawant out of City Hall, because they are determined to maintain their cushy handouts and huge tax breaks. That’s why corporate PACs are spending more in District 3 against Kshama Sawant than in any other race in the city. Don’t let the big business and the super rich get their way — please chip in $25 today to re-elect Kshama Sawant and continue our movement to tax the rich!
Like Seattle’s victories on the $15 minimum wage and landmark renters’ rights ordinances, our struggle to #TaxTheRich affirms that when our local movements act with courage, we can make change happen. At a time of record-breaking inequality, working people can’t afford to wait for the politicians in Olympia to act, which they have failed to do over many decades. In the fight to win rent control in Seattle, we must also not passively wait for permission from State Legislators, but instead actively fight to win a comprehensive rent control ordinance here in Seattle. Join us at the Rent Control Rally this Saturday, July 20 at 6:00PM at the All Pilgrims Christian Church in Capitol Hill!
We’re extremely proud to receive The Stranger’s endorsement for our socialist re-election campaign! This is the third time "Seattle's only newspaper" has supported Kshama Sawant for City Council, as an unapologetic fighter for working people.
As we’ve said since day one of this campaign, what’s at stake in this year’s election is who runs Seattle -- Amazon and big business, or working people. It’s no secret that Kshama is the only candidate in District 3 prepared to stand up to Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce, or who’s campaigning for bold solutions like rent control and a Green New Deal.
In The Stranger’s endorsement, they acknowledge the central role Kshama has played on the Council since her first election in 2013: “Sawant's pressure continues to make legislation and budgets more progressive. If she's not in there calling out the bullshit and being ‘100 percent that bitch,’ then Seattle will just regress to patting itself on the back for hating Donald Trump while people continue to die in the streets. Fuck that. Vote Sawant.”
Ballots were sent out from King County elections today and will begin arriving in mailboxes starting tomorrow. Vote early to make sure your vote counts! As The Stranger said, “Amazon and friends are now out for revenge, opening their political cash spigots in an attempt to manipulate public opinion ahead of the August 6 primary election so that a bunch of business-boot-licking candidates will be installed in the seven council seats currently up for grabs.” We can’t let Corporate PACs, Amazon and Vulcan buy this election!
Can you donate $15 dollars today to help us cancel out Vulcan’s $80K Corporate PAC spending?
And don’t forget to join us this Saturday, July 20, to Rally for Rent Control at 6pm at All Pilgrims Christian Church, 500 Broadway E, and RSVP here! If big business thinks they’re going to buy this election, let’s show them that we’re ready to fight for what working people in Seattle really need! #RentControl #TaxTheRich #GreenNewDeal