Yes, not maybe: Seattle needs rent control

Seattle urgently needs rent control to stop Seattle’s out-of-control rent hikes! Rents now average over two thousand dollars a month, and one of our neighbors in District 3 is evicted every other day. But we don’t need statistics to explain what most working people can see plain and clear: the rent is too damn high!

That’s why renters — and everyone who believes Seattle should be affordable for all — are fighting back! And that’s why Kshama’s council office has launched Seattle’s campaign for rent control!

Organizing alongside the Tenants Union of WA State and Be:Seattle, they are about to smash their goal of collecting 10,000 signatures on their petition for rent control. We’re also using our re-election campaign to build momentum for rent control, and we’re proud that we’ve collected an additional 6,000 petition signatures in support of rent control. 

Please join us at next Saturday’s important rally to get active in the movement for rent control and learn more about the legislation Kshama will soon be bringing forward for universal rent control, free of corporate loopholes. Please RSVP and invite your friends!

RENT CONTROL RALLY! 

July 20th, 6pm 

All Pilgrims Christian Church (500 Broadway E)

Notably, when asked yes or no by the Seattle Times, Kshama was the only District 3 candidate to clearly answer that yes, Seattle needs rent control! 

All other candidates answered “no” or “maybe.” Working people can’t say “maybe I’ll pay” when their landlord suddenly demands higher rent. But too many candidates say “maybe” when faced with the most crucial issues that working people face daily in Seattle. All too often, “maybe” signals a willingness to side with big business, rather than a commitment to stand up for working people.

Big business and Seattle’s wealthiest real-estate developers are deeply afraid of our movement for rent control. They are prepared to go to all lengths to keep Seattle’s rents sky high. That’s why billion-dollar luxury real-estate developer Vulcan (responsible for the development of Amazon’s headquarters in South Lake Union) has already dropped $80,000 into the Chamber of Commerce’s mammoth PAC. 

We can’t let Amazon, big business, and big developers buy this election. We’re proud that our grassroots campaign cancelled out Amazon’s big $200,000 donation from earlier this year. This month, as we build for a big rally for rent control and build our movement for rent control, we need to raise $80,000 to #CancelOutVulcan! Please donate today.

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We cancelled out Amazon’s $200K PAC donation: Now Let’s #CancelOutVulcan!

We’re incredibly proud to announce that we’ve cancelled out Amazon’s huge $200,000 donation to the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC! And most importantly, we’re proud that we did it with a grassroots campaign that is not for sale to corporate interests. As always, Kshama Sawant does not accept a penny from corporations, CEOs, business lobbyists, or big developers.

$200,000 is just pocket change to Amazon, which raked in $11.2 billion in profits last year (helped by the fact that they paid no taxes, and even got a tax rebate) and is headed up by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of a staggering $158.2 billion dollars. Our donations, by contrast, come from working-class people digging deep and sacrificing from their hard-earned wages. 

Our fundraising reflects the broad base of support for Kshama Sawant and the deep hunger for the policies like rent control, a Green New Deal for working people, and taxing Amazon to build affordable housing. The $200,000 we’ve raised comes from 1,500 working people in Seattle, with a median donation of just $20, and more District 3 donors than any other campaign!

Campaign finance disclosures confirm that the top priority for big business this year is “Anybody but Kshama Sawant” for District 3 — the Chamber of Commerce’s Amazon-funded corporate PAC has already spent over $100,000 against Kshama Sawant, spending more on District 3’s race than on any other in the city. PACs are on track to shatter records for campaign spending in Seattle, and the corporate cash will likely continue to flood in as our campaign gains momentum. 

Just last week, the billion-dollar luxury real-estate developer Vulcan dropped $80,000 into the Chamber of Commerce PAC. Vulcan has a well-established history of using bullying tactics to protect its profits at all costs. Last year, Vulcan teamed up with Amazon to pressure the repeal of the Amazon Tax, which could’ve funded thousands of affordable homes. 

Vulcan is deeply afraid of our movement for rent control.

Momentum for rent control is growing across the country, with major victories for renters in Oregon and New York City earlier this year. As evidenced by the victory in New York, people with rent control want more of it, not less. With rents averaging over $2,000, it’s easy to see why so many Seattleites are joining us in our fight to win comprehensive rent control for Seattle, which could set a historic precedent nationwide in the same way as our victory for $15/hr.

This month, as we build for a big rally for rent control on July 20, let’s cancel out Vulcan’s $80,000 corporate PAC donation. Let’s show big developers they can’t buy this election or stop our fight for the rent control Seattle tenants urgently need. Please donate today to #CancelOutVulcan and invite your friends to the Rent Control Rally on July 20.

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Amazon Workers Stand with Kshama: Let's Cancel Amazon's PAC Money

What’s at stake in this year’s election is who runs Seattle — Amazon and big business, or working people. Over the past six years, our city council seat has consistently organized alongside working people to win real victories. 

That’s one reason why we’re incredibly proud to have the endorsement of SEIU Local 6, which now includes Amazon workers, as we fight for rent control and for taxing Amazon and big business to fund a massive expansion of social housing for working people.

Representing over 7,000 janitors, security officers, airport passenger service workers, and allied industries workers, SEIU Local 6 workers have stood up against discrimination and Islamophobia, the flouting of labor laws, and even illegitimate firings by Amazon executives. Kshama fought in solidarity with security workers at Amazon and celebrated alongside the union when they forced Amazon to dump its private contractor and recognize the union. 

Amazon clearly understands what’s at stake in this election. As Geekwire recently reported, “[t]hough Amazon isn’t endorsing candidates directly, the company has put money in the game. Amazon donated $200,000 to the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, which just released its endorsements.” The hundreds of thousands of dollars Amazon is throwing into the Seattle elections is about backing “anybody but Kshama,” funding candidates they anticipate will carry forward *their* agenda — and not what working people in Seattle need. 

While we don’t have billionaires like Jeff Bezos funding our campaign, we are demonstrating once again that it’s possible to run a powerful campaign that’s not for sale to big business. We’re incredibly proud that our grassroots campaign is about to cancel Amazon's $200,000 PAC contribution! We only have $1000 to go — donate today to push us over the top!


Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos makes enough money every day to pay all the back rent owed by every Seattle resident who faced eviction in 2017. Amazon nearly doubled its profits to an eye-popping $11.2 billion last year, up from $5.6 billion in 2017. For two years in a row, the corporation completely dodged the 21% tax rate corporations are supposed to pay (which is outrageously now even lower than before thanks to Trump’s corporate tax cuts). Nowhere is the failure and rottenness of neoliberal, “trickle down” economics more apparent than right here in Amazon’s home city, Seattle. The world’s two richest billionaires live in King County — and yet, working people face the threat of economic eviction from rising rents and a city becoming dramatically unaffordable for them.

In society, it’s broadly understood that the top 1% hoarding wealth contributes to extreme social issues. It’s no coincidence that Amazon donated over $350,000 to get Mayor Durkan elected, and then she organized the city establishment to repeal the Amazon tax last year, in a move that stole millions of dollars from Seattle that would have gone toward affordable housing. However, the movement we built to tax big business and stand up to Amazon’s bullying had a broader impact, including the passing of big business taxes to fund affordable housing and homeless services, such the "Google Tax," in three California cities.

Our Tax Amazon movement also helped to raise the confidence of working people in Queens. They organized against the proposed HQ2 and a $3 billion dollar corporate hand-out from taxpayers to Amazon while working people in New York struggle to get by — and they won! More recently, New York renters refused to back down in the face of powerful big business interests, winning historic tenant protections against evictions, security deposits, application fees and stronger rent controls. New Yorkers with access to rent control want more of it, not less! 

This is why Councilmember Sawant’s council seat is dedicated to building coalitions of working people, labor, socialists and young people to fight for the interests of the 99%. To begin addressing Seattle’s affordable housing crisis and build the social housing we need, we must tax Amazon and big business, not further burden working people. We must tax the rich to massively expand public transit, making it free and fully electric. We must tax the rich to fully fund public education and to create free, high-speed municipal broadband. In this struggle, we support the fight to unionize Amazon and all workplaces in Seattle, a crucial part of the fight to shift the balance of power away from the corporate elite and into the hands of working people.

Please donate today to stand with Amazon workers and cancel out Amazon’s $200,000 PAC contribution.

 
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Seattle Needs A Green New Deal

We have a climate emergency. On the heels of the hottest June ever recorded worldwide, temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska just hit a record all-time high of 90 degrees this week. As one climate scientist described this summer’s heat waves, “Temperature records haven’t just been broken — they have been obliterated.”

Last year’s UN climate change report warned that we only have 12 years to drastically cut fossil fuels and prevent devastating repercussions of climate change. With a climate change denier in the White House who has filled his cabinet with fossil fuel interests, the need for grassroots struggle and bold leadership is only that much more urgent.

Since day one of this campaign, we’ve been calling for Seattle to lead the way on the climate crisis through 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, and create thousands of well paying union jobs with a major program of wind and solar by Seattle public utilities and retrofitting homes and businesses to the highest efficiency standards.

Winning a Green New Deal — in Seattle and nationwide — will take building powerful movements which unite workers and environmental activists. We’re excited to announce that we’ve now been endorsed by the Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, Transit Riders Union and ATU 587! 

Kshama Sawant has a powerful record of environmental leadership. We’re proud to be endorsed the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club, the nation's largest environmental organization. As Alec Connon, an organizer with 350 Seattle speaking in a personal capacity, said: “Councilmember Sawant has been a continual advocate for Seattle to do more in the struggle against global warming; whether it was sponsoring the ordinance to sever ties with Wells Fargo because of its funding of the Dakota Access pipeline, the resolution to oppose the Tacoma LNG facility or standing with us against Shell's Polar Pioneer, Councilmember Sawant has done more than almost any other Councilmember to further the cause of climate justice in our city.”

Amalgamated Transit Union 587 represents 4,500 bus drivers, technicians, and support staff, and we’re proud that they are one of the 14 unions already endorsing our campaign. Their national union took a bold stand at the height of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline by calling for a trillion-dollar green energy program instead of further investment in fossil fuels. 

The Transit Riders Union has worked in coalition with Councilmember Sawant's office on a number of key issues, including taxing the rich and the Amazon Tax for affordable housing. A massive expansion of public transit is one of the most important components of a Green New Deal in Seattle. As Katie Wilson, the General Secretary of the Transit Riders Union said, “Since she was first elected in 2013, Kshama has been a strong voice for expanding mass transit and making transit free. She also understands that we can’t keep building our transit system on the backs of working and poor people— we have to fight to flip our regressive tax system so that wealthy people and corporations start paying their fair share for public goods like public transit.”

Avoiding climate catastrophe will take a rapid shift away from fossil fuels. We will need to bring the big U.S. energy corporations into democratic public ownership and retool them for clean energy. 

To try to quash the growing momentum for climate action, Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) corporation has already invested $30,000 into the nearly $1 million-strong coffers of the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC. The PAC has made defeating Kshama Sawant its top priority this election cycle. The latest campaign finance disclosures reveal that the PAC has already unleashed over $100,000 against our campaign, spending more on District 3’s race than on any other in the city.

More than 60% of PSE’s power in 2017 came from coal and natural gas, while less than 10% of Puget Sound Energy’s power comes from wind and solar. PSE has fought against modest initiatives to curb fossil fuel emissions at the state level, and they are currently constructing a dangerous liquid natural gas (fracking) export terminal in Tacoma on ancestral lands of the Puyallup tribe.

PSE is deeply threatened by our call for a Green New Deal for working people. They are determined to stop the re-election of Kshama Sawant, the socialist who makes things happen. We can’t afford to let them — donate today.

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The floodgates have opened: Corporate PAC spends over $100,000 for ‘Anybody but Kshama’

The Chamber of Commerce’s mammoth corporate PAC has unleashed its first wave of cash for the 2019 Seattle City Council elections, and campaign finance disclosures confirm exactly what we’ve been warning: the PAC has already spent over $100,000 against Kshama Sawant, spending more on District 3’s race than on any other in the city.

Let’s follow the money. The CASE PAC’s war chest of over $850,000 consists of: 

💰💰💰 $250,000 from Amazon, the world’s biggest retail corporation, with $200,000 of that coming in this Spring. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the entire world, with over $100 billion and growing, while Seattle has the highest rate of homelessness of any city in the country. Bezos has already given a live demonstration of how far he’s prepared to go to stop the fight for affordable housing in Seattle with his bullying tactics to force through last year's Amazon Tax repeal. Kshama Sawant was one of only two votes to stand up against him.

💰💰 $155,000 from Vulcan, the huge for-profit luxury housing development firm, with $80,000 coming just last week. Vulcan has repeatedly flexed its weight against progressive movements. They were another of the big donors who pressured City Council to repeal the progressive Amazon Tax, which could have funded thousands of affordable homes. Vulcan is deeply afraid of our movement for rent control.

💰$30,000 from Comcast, which has fought hard to maintain their virtual monopoly on internet in Seattle with their overpriced and slow services, even using illegal schemes to scam millions in profits. Comcast is afraid of our call for Municipal Broadband in Seattle and wants to pull the plug on our movement.

💰30,000 from Puget Sound Energy (PSE) corporation, which has opposed even modest initiatives to curb fossil fuel emissions at the state level and is currently constructing a controversial liquid natural gas (fracking) export terminal in Tacoma on ancestral lands for the Puyallup tribe. PSE doesn’t like the sound of a Green New Deal for working people and wants to stop Kshama Sawant, the socialist who makes things happen, from being re-elected. 


This year, Comcast, PSE, Vulcan, and Amazon are all hellbent on driving out the socialist who is organizing for municipal broadband, a Green New Deal, a tax on Amazon and big business to fund a massive expansion of affordable housing, and universal rent control. These big business bullies have deep pockets, and they are used to getting their way. It’s clear that they are deeply threatened by Kshama Sawant, one of the most effective fighters for working people to ever to sit in City Hall. 

Corporate PACs are on track to shatter records for campaign spending, without the same limits as the voucher program or individual donors. Our grassroots campaign must shatter records too. We’re proud that our grassroots campaign has already raised $195,000, which puts us only $5,000 away from cancelling out Amazon’s massive $200,000 PAC donation from earlier this year!

Where do our donations come from?

💪 A median donation of just $20

💪 Over twice as many donors as any of our opponents

💪 The most District 3 donors of any campaign

💪 Working people like yourself — we don’t take a penny from corporations, CEOs, business lobbyists, or big developers


What’s at stake this year is who runs Seattle: Amazon and big business, or working people. Donate today to cancel out Amazon’s $200,000 PAC donation. If 250 people chip in $20, our median donation so far, we can do it.

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Sawant and Teachers Union: United to Fight for Public Education

Teachers unions are at the forefront of struggle for quality education and workers rights.Teachers strikes in recent years have reinvigorated the labor movement. We need to stand with teachers defending public education in Seattle and nationally. 

We are proud to now be endorsed by the Seattle Education Association! This joins the 
growing list of 14 unions who have endorsed Kshama, representing over 80,000 workers in Washington state. The recent increase in labor struggles and the growth of the socialist movement are desperately needed in the face of corporate and right-wing attacks on our living standards.

Fully-funded quality public education is a central part of the wider struggle for equality. We need to tax big business and the rich to fully fund our schools while standing up against the corporate “reform,” union-busting and privatization agenda. 

Teachers and students also need to be able to afford to live in the city where they work and learn. This is one reason why our fight for rent control and affordable housing is so urgent. A massive increase in quality social housing, like public education, should be paid for by taxes on the big corporations and the super rich. 


Matt Maley, District 3 resident and educator at Nova High School, located in the heart of Seattle’s Central District represented by Sawant said: “When students walked out against staff cuts at NOVA high school at the start of this school year, Kshama opened the doors of City Hall for them and put resources into supporting them, while most politicians and School Board members simply gave lip service to our students. Even though the district forced through the cuts at that time, in the wake of this important struggle Kshama’s office helped win $100,000 for an LGBTQ+ health center at NOVA through the People’s Budget. This is just one of countless examples of the crucial role Kshama has played in fighting for educators, students and public education.”

The struggle for equality in our public schools is necessary now more than ever. The Seattle Public School Board recently decided to 
end its partnership with the Urban Native Education Alliance, cutting a vital program for Indigenous students that has contributed to a major increase in graduation rates. This points in the wrong direction, and Kshama is proud to stand with indigenous leaders, community groups, teachers and students who are fighting against this injustice as part of a wider fight to make quality education truly accessible, providing for all students.

Jesse Hagopian, the Seattle teacher who led the way in creating ethnic studies programs across the city said, “There are a lot of politicians who make empty platitudes about the youth being the future. There are very few who actually fight to defend public education so that the future of our youth can be bright. We live in a city with unimaginable wealth at time of unprecedented growth and a booming economy. And yet we have hundreds of homeless students in the Seattle Public Schools and a $40 million dollar budget shortfall leading to hundreds of teachers being displaced from their schools. Kshama Sawant has been one of the few politicians who has been a consistent champion for our schools and our educators. Most importantly, she knows that her job is to support educators, students, and parents to rise up to create the fundamental change we need in public education.”

When we stand together and fight, we can win! Still, we are up against powerful forces who want “anybody but Kshama” elected in District 3. Corporate PACs have already amassed over one million dollars to try to buy this election. Stand with teachers and union activists and help us cancel out the PAC by 
donating today! And save the date for an Educators for Sawant fundraiser & house party on July 14.

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Why Seattle Democrats are Backing Kshama Sawant

43rd District Democratic Party Board Members, pictured with Kshama, after attending the Democrats for Sawant House Party on June 12th. From left to right: Rod Palmquist, Joey Wieser, Brad Bell, Shua Sanchez, Amy Madden

43rd District Democrats just delivered another big victory for our campaign, deciding against endorsing any of our Democratic Party opponents in the District 3 race. Like the decision taken by the 37th District Democrats in May, in which #TeamKshama won a “no consensus” vote, the failure of Kshama’s opponents to win the 60% threshold needed to get the endorsement reflects the enthusiastic support for socialist City Councilmember Sawant among grassroots Democrats.

Since she was elected to City Council in 2013, every important victory Kshama has helped lead in winning was the result of building broad coalitions including Democrats, socialists, union and community activists, and others. From the $15/hr minimum wage, to renters' rights legislation and Indigenous People’s Day, rank-and-file Democratic activists played an important role.  At the same time, Kshama has never made a secret of her call for building a working class political alternative to both corporate-controlled parties, or her membership in Socialist Alternative. In this context, the decision of the Democrats not to endorse longtime 43rd member and former 43rd Board Member, Zachary DeWolf, in his home turf is especially significant. 

Below we are publishing a letter from three leading grassroots Democrats on why they are backing Kshama.

Why Democrats Support Kshama Sawant

Robert Cruickshank, leader in the 36th LD Democrats
Amy Madden, leader in the 43rd LD Democrats
Claude Burfect, 37th Democrats, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

This year's City Council elections come at a critical moment in the history of Seattle. Wealthy interests and Republicans are striking back, determined to derail recent progress and block Seattle from any new, bold action on behalf of working people. 

We all have a choice to make this year. When we mark our ballots, we're declaring which side we are on. As Democratic Party leaders and activists, we're on the side of working people. And that's why we're on the side of Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

If you read our state Democratic Party platform, one of the most progressive in the nation, you will find strong language challenging corporate power. "We oppose the undue influence of corporations on our society, government and political process," it reads. You'll find a bold call for climate action: "The struggle to protect our planet’s climate health must be seen as mutually dependent and interwoven with the struggles for racial and economic justice." You'll also find calls for tax fairness, shared prosperity, affordable housing, and health care as a human right.

Councilmember Sawant is the candidate in District 3 who best embodies those core values of Democrats in Seattle and in Washington State. We will never forget the key role she played in winning a $15 minimum wage for Seattle, inspiring other cities and states to adopt it as well. (We know the big corporations and wealthy donors haven't forgotten it either.)

Sawant has won a series of victories for tenant rights, capping move-in fees and blocking rent increases at substandard rental homes. She stood with residents of public housing, including immigrants and refugees, to stop a massive rent increase at Seattle Housing Authority properties. 

She is fighting  for a Green New Deal, voting to build more affordable housing across Seattle and take on the old zoning policies rooted in discrimination in order to promote housing justice — and she matches it with strong work against gentrification and displacement. She has worked closely with Democratic Party elected officials and activists to achieve these victories, and we know she is always willing to show up in the community and stand with working people fighting for justice.

In the next few weeks and months, however, you'll hear from well-funded corporate-backed PACs trying to tell you other, misleading stories about Sawant. As progressive Democrats, we know what it's like when regressive forces mobilize to try and stop progress. And we know how to fight back.

One of the main corporate PACs, Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), is funded by megacorporations who have a long and ugly record of opposing working people. Amazon, of course, has contributed $200,000. The Washington Association of Realtors, which spends lots of time in Olympia trying to preserve our regressive, upside-down tax code, donated $25,000. Comcast gave $15,000 to protect their poor quality internet and their even worse customer service. And Puget Sound Energy took time out from trying to undermine climate action and donated $15,000.

Another PAC, "People for Seattle," organized by former Councilmember and Mayor Tim Burgess, has taken money from wealthy Republican donors. People for Seattle donor Bruce McCaw of Bellevue, for example, gave the Washington State Republicans at least $35,000 in 2018 while also donating heavily to try and protect Republican control of Congress. Tom Alberg joined McCaw in donating to Dino Rossi and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Al Clise also donated several thousand dollars to McMorris Rodgers.

Much of this money will be spent to defeat Sawant. As Seattle Democrats, we would be failing to do our jobs if we let big corporations and their Republican allies get away with this blatant attempt to influence and decide the outcome of our elections.

We don't yet know which of Sawant's challengers will benefit most from all this big money. Still, these candidates are already failing to make a convincing case for themselves. Sawant's challengers are not strong or consistent on important issues. At forums and in published reports, we have seen these challengers flip-flop or hedge on crucial issues such as rent control, taxing big corporations, and other key choices facing our city.

The battle over the head tax reminded us that we need champions on the City Council who will boldly stand up to corporate power, take on big money, and fight in the public interest and for working people. We have no doubt that Kshama Sawant will continue to be that leader. She's been doing it for the last six years on the City Council.

We are Democrats because of our shared commitment to economic justice, racial equity, and building better communities for everyone. We look at candidates based on their values, not based on the jersey they wear. In District 3, the Democratic choice is Kshama Sawant. We’re proud to endorse her, and we know she’ll fight for us and for all working people.

 

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Sierra Club, SEIU Local 6 and ATU Local 587 All Join #TeamKshama

We’re excited to announce four more big endorsements for our campaign: the Sierra Club, Washington State Chapter; ATU Local 587, representing 4,500 public transit workers; SEIU Local 6, representing over 7,000 janitors, security officers, airport passenger service workers, and allied industries workers; and UAW 1981/National Writers Union, representing freelance writers!

We’re proud that we now lead Seattle’s District 3 race in labor endorsements with twelve unions and counting: SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW, SEIU Local 6, Unite Here! Local 8, UAW 4121, ATU Local 587, Operating Engineers Local 609, Laborers Local 1239, WFSE 1488, WFSE 3488, WFSE 304, UAW 1981, and the Greater Seattle Area American Postal Workers’ Union.

We’re also honored to have the endorsement of the Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club. With the extreme threat of climate change, we are using our campaign this year’s campaign to build momentum for a Green New Deal, to make Seattle 100% renewable by 2030.

Additionally, we are endorsed by the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Democratic Socialists of America and Socialist Alternative, as well as dozens of powerful community leaders. In addition, Democratic activists with the Democratic Party’s 37th District won a "no consensus" vote in May, widely seen as a victory for our campaign (as a Socialist Alternative candidate independent of the Democratic Party, the bylaws of the 37th LD barred Kshama from seeking their formal endorsement).

We’re extremely proud that so many fighting unions in Seattle have already endorsed us this year. SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW represents over 30,000 nurses, health care workers, and behavioral health workers. Councilmember Kshama Sawant was proud to walk the picket line with courageous SEIU Healthcare 1199NW workers at Swedish Medical Center in 2015 and at Harborview in 2016. She has also fought alongside the union for policies working families in Seattle need, like $15/hr, paid family and parental leave, and a tax on Amazon and Seattle’s biggest businesses to fund affordable housing.

UAW 4121 represents over 4,500 workers at the University of Washington. In addition to fighting for workers’ rights for their members, the union fights for social and economic justice on campus and in the community through participation in a broad range of organizations and struggles. When graduate student workers in UAW 4121 went on strike last year, Kshama joined them on the picket line and sponsored a resolution in City Hall calling on the UW administration to pay them a living wage.  

Kshama has fought in solidarity with security workers at Amazon, organizing with SEIU 6, against discrimination and Islamophobia, the flouting of labor laws, and even illegitimate firings by Amazon executives. In recent weeks, these workers just defeated the world’s richest man, forcing Amazon to dump its private contractor and recognize the union. We’re incredibly proud to have the endorsement of an Amazon workers’ union this year as we fight for rent control and for taxing Amazon and big business to fund a massive expansion of social housing for working people.

A rank-and-file member of AFT1789 herself, Kshama Sawant has been one of the most consistent fighters for working people and unions to ever sit on the Seattle City Council. As John Frazier, President of WFSE Local 3488 at Harborview Medical Center, explained: “Kshama Sawant has been a powerful force for the people — leading the way on the $15 minimum wage, landmark renters' rights laws, and fighting for workers' rights. We need to keep her voice in City Hall.”

Councilmember Kshama Sawant has consistently fought in the interests of working people, which means standing up to Amazon, the Chamber of Commerce, and big developers. Already, corporate PACs have amassed $1 million for ‘anybody but Kshama Sawant,’ $200,000 of that from Amazon alone. We can’t let Amazon and big business buy this election.

Our campaign doesn’t take a dime in corporate cash. Instead, we are funded by over 1,000 working people in Seattle, with the most grassroots donors of any campaign in Seattle’s District 3 race, including the most donors from within District 3. And in a year with a record-breaking 56 candidates filing for Seattle’s City Council elections, we were also proud 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 only 3 weeks’ time.

In addition to the twelve unions and the progressive organizations like the Sierra Club which have already endorsed our campaign, we’re honored to be endorsed by dozens of powerful community leaders, workers and activists. To see all our endorsements, please visit the new Endorsements page on our website! Join #TeamKshama: donate today and add your personal endorsement here.

Personal Endorsements

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Fighting Gentrification in the Central District and Capitol Hill

As your City Councilmember, I’ve fought tirelessly over the last five years to represent working people, renters, working-class homeowners and all oppressed people, and to help bring your voices to Seattle’s City Hall. Like you, I want to live in a city that is rooted in social justice and affordable for all.

Seattle is rapidly becoming a playground for the rich, while working people, small businesses, people of color and LGBTQ people are being gentrified out of our city. The Seattle area is home to the world’s only two members of the 100 billion dollar club, yet we have the highest rate of homelessness per capita. Our affordable housing crisis is one of the worst in the country.

Seattle’s District 3 — including the historically people-of-color Central District and the historically LGBTQ Capitol Hill —  is at the epicenter of this crisis. Corporate developers are raking in profits, while working people are being gentrified out of the CD and Capitol Hill. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Central District was over 70% black —  now, it’s less than 20%. And on average, one of our neighbors in District 3 is evicted every other day.

But we’re fighting back! Our office, alongside movements, has played a key role in fighting gentrification in Capitol Hill and the Central District, winning a series of landmark victories for renters’ rights and affordable housing, and against displacement of working-class residents.

Big business and the Chamber of Commerce claim that we need someone who will better represent Seattle’s District 3. Our opponents in the race often say they will “listen to everyone in the District.” In the words of community leader and trans activist Mac McGregor, “If you want thoughts and prayers, there are many other offices to call. If you want action, [Kshama’s] office is the one to call. Because hers is the one that gets stuff done.”

What big business really means when they talk about District 3 representation is that I don’t represent them. And in fact, I unapologetically fight for ordinary people and do not represent the corporate elite. Nor have I ever claimed to represent “everyone” in District 3. For instance, I don’t represent District 3 resident Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who has opposed the $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. In a situation of deep inequality, it is either willfully disingenuous or just plain naïve for politicians and candidates to claim that they represent everybody. My office hears all the time from working people, LGBTQ and people of color in our district who say they’ve never felt more heard or represented by an elected office as they do by ours.

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Support airline catering workers taking strike action!

Delta, Alaska, and American Airlines are boasting record profits, while their workers are struggling for their basic needs. The hospitality workers who load airline food and beverages are fighting back! They have courageously authorized strike action — by over 99% at SeaTac! — to demand better pay and affordable healthcare.

#TeamKshama unequivocally supports not only these SeaTac workers organized with Unite Here! Local 8, but also the over 11,000 workers in 20 other cities across the country who are voting on whether to take strike action. Councilmember Kshama Sawant, a rank and file member of AFT 1789 herself, has been a consistent fighter for working people and unions on the Seattle City Council, and we’re proud to have Unite Here! Local 8’s endorsement for our re-election campaign.

Instead of backing down to lesser offers, these hospitality workers have forced the bosses into federal mediation for denying them a fair contract. Nationally, many of these workers are still fighting to win raises to $15/hour. Five years ago, Councilmember Sawant worked alongside labor and unorganized minimum wage workers, socialists, and our 15NOW campaign, to build the movement that won Seattle’s historic $15 minimum wage.

Additionally, Unite Here! hotel workers at Embassy Suites in Seattle have been taking action against the bosses for a fair contract since last September. Join #TeamKshama on the picket lines this Tuesday at 2pm to support Unite Here! hotel workers demanding “One Job Should Be Enough!”

Big business is used to getting their way, which is why Amazon and other corporate interests have flooded $1 million into corporate PACs to back “anybody but Kshama.” This is because Kshama’s Council Office not only gets things done with residents in District 3, but has led movements to win millions for affordable housing and new renters’ protections while walking the picket lines in solidarity with union workers taking action. From SEA teachers to SEIU security workers at Amazon, worker actions have shown that when we organize, we can win — a union, a better contract, stronger workplace protections. Let’s fight for a Seattle that’s affordable for all working people.

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