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Nine Seattle City Council Members Are Sworn In, But One Steals The Show

Elaine Thompson
New Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant, left, holds up a clenched fist after a ceremonial swearing-in at an inaugural event Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Seattle.


For the first time since the year 1910, most Seattle City Council members represent the neighborhoods they live in. And while hundreds of people turned out to see this younger and more diverse council be sworn in on Monday, there is one elected official the public continues to watch with great interest: socialist, KshamaSawant.

At Monday’s ceremony, a wave of friends, supporters and colleagues packed the stairs up to the council chambers in Seattle’s City Hall. Hundreds more stood shoulder to shoulder in an overflow room to watch seven district council members and two at large officials be sworn in.


But when you start asking people who they were there to see and support, most respond the way 34-year-old Thomas Jones did, “I’m here to support Kshama Sawant.”


Credit Jennifer Wing / KPLU
Walter Hudson was one many Kshama Sawant supporters who attended Monday's swearing in ceremony at Seattle City Hall.

Sawant supporters carried signs reading “tax the rich”.  Twenty- and 30-somethings who don’t live in Sawant’s district, took time off of work to hear her speech. Their concerns are varied.


“I hope that the police can be help accountable for their actions. I hope homeless people can get housing and everything that they need,” said 28 -year-old Summer Jupin, who took time away from her job as a massage therapist to see Sawant be sworn in for a second term.


Duncan Bruckner, who works a a valet, also came specifically to hear Sawant speak. Bruckner pays $1,400 for his Beacon Hill apartment said,  “I’m hoping for in the future for a more aggressive minimum wage increase would be nice. This one is fine, but with rent the way it is, there has got to be some control on the rent.”


All of the newly elected council member gave speeches after posing with their framed “certificate of election.’  The themes echoed in most of their remarks were affordable housing, better funding for education and a push for paid parental leave for everyone who works in Seattle.


The council now has five women and four men. Four members are people of color. Bruce Harrell is the council’s new president.


Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.