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Not Yet In Office, Sawant Promises $15 Minimum Wage In 2014

Elaine Thompson
Associated Press
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Seattle’s newly-elected Socialist city council member KshamaSawant isn’t wasting any time. At a news conference Tuesday, Sawant boldly promised “2014 will be the year of the $15-an-hour minimum wage.”

Sawant, who won’t be sworn in until January, has already been meeting with council members and labor leaders. But she says she’s also looking for support from ordinary people on the street.

“[Those] who may not have the time to engage in research and policy work because they’re busy holding down two or three jobs in order to pay rent and buy food,” she said. “It’s extremely important to get their voice heard, and it’s part of my job as someone who was elected with the mandate of $15-an-hour minimum wage to engage them.”

On Tuesday, Sawant said a new website,, will serve as a portal in the push for a minimum wage hike. The website won't launch until Jan. 2, however, and its exact role remains unclear.

Sawant says if the city council doesn’t pass the minimum wage increase, a referendum is possible. Meanwhile, Seattle Mayor-Elect Ed Murray has scheduled a news conference on Thursday to introduce his “Income Inequality Advisory Committee.” Murray has said he supports increasing the minimum wage by the end of his first term. 

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.