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Sawant won't seek reelection, plans to launch national labor movement

In an op-ed for The Stranger, Kshama Sawant said she is launching Workers Strike Back, a national labor movement, in March.

SEATTLE — Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant announced in an op-ed for The Stranger on Thursday that she will not seek reelection and outlined her plans to launch a national labor movement.

"I am announcing the launch of such a national movement, Workers Strike Back, instead of myself running for re-election again in Seattle’s District 3," Sawant said.

Workers Strike Back, a national labor movement will be launched in March by Sawant and Socialist Alternative. Workers Strike Back’s purpose is to better the lives of the working class and to hold elected officials accountable, according to workersstrikeback.org.

“Working people have set a powerful example in this city, it is time to build on that nationally, to widen and strengthen the class struggle,” Sawant said in a press release. “Workers in Seattle, through getting organized alongside my socialist City Council office, and my organization, Socialist Alternative, have won historic victories, such as the $15/hour minimum wage, the Amazon Tax, and landmark renters’ rights."

Sawant’s announcement comes after three other councilmembers, Alex Pedersen, Debora Juarez and Lisa Herbold, said they were not going to seek reelection.

“You have an opportunity here, we the city does to reset,” said Mike Solan, President of Seattle Police Officer’s Guild. 

Solan said new council members will have to face ongoing problems, like its police force staffing reaching a 30-year low.

“Then you're going to have to have a political message, where you actually say that you support police officers and their work for the City of Seattle," Solan said. "We haven't heard that much and I think that's what's led to the resignations and retirements of 500 people and counting, as we've lost five this month."

Solan said there is something the council can do to keep the officers they do have.

“Until you get a fair competitive labor contract, you're not going to be getting many people to want to have interest with being a Seattle police officer in the future,” Solan said.

Sawant, who represents District 3, covering central Seattle, has been in office since 2014 and is the longest-tenured member.

Sawant survived a recall election in 2021 after the recall campaign claimed she violated her oath of office on three different occasions. Sawant labeled the recall effort as a “racist, right-wing campaign.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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