A former software engineer and community college professor was sworn in Monday as the first socialist member of Seattle’s city council in a century.
Kshama Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party, won a citywide election that surprised many even in the liberal Washington state city. She defeated a 16-year incumbent by waging a grassroots campaign focusing on income inequality.
“I will do my utmost to represent the disenfranchised and the excluded, the poor and the oppressed,” Sawant said in a speech after being sworn in, the Associated Press reports. She promised to fight for “a $15-an-hour minimum wage, affordable housing, and taxing the super-rich for a massive expansion of public transit and education.”
City Council staff believe Sawant is the first socialist to be elected to office in the city in 100 years, the AP reports. When asked after her swearing in about her political philosophy, Sawant said, “I wear the badge of socialist with honor.”