By Associated Press
A former community college professor who won a surprising victory in a citywide election was sworn in on Monday as the first socialist city council member in Seattle’s modern history.
Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party took her oath and served in her first hearing, then gave a speech to throngs of supporters in a ceremonial swearing-in at a packed City Hall.
“I will do my utmost to represent the disenfranchised and the excluded, the poor and the oppressed, by fighting for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, affordable housing, and taxing the super rich for a massive expansion of public transit and education,” said Sawant, 41.
Even in this liberal city, Sawant’s win surprised many. The incumbent, Richard Conlin, was backed by the political establishment. But bolstered by a grass-roots campaign that focused on economic inequality, Sawant beat Conlin, who had served for 16 years.