United States: Socialist councillor accepts less than half her wage

Kshama Sawant.

“Seattle’s only Socialist City Council member announced Monday that she will make good on a campaign pledge and accept only [US]$40,000 a year in salary — bringing her down to the average wage of a worker in the city,” NBCNews.com said on January 27.

The rest of Kshama Sawant's $117,000 salary will go to social justice causes such as strike funds, and civil rights and women’s rights campaigns, she said in a statement. Sawant took office in early January.

“Every council member faces a choice of who they represent and which world they inhabit,” said Sawant. “My place is with working people and their struggles. I want to give a voice to workers, trade union members, women, and immigrants. As a council member, I re-commit to a fundamentally different political outlook.

“In line with the principles of the political party I represent, Socialist Alternative, I pledged to stay accountable to working people by taking only [an] average workers' wage.”

Pointing out that Seattle councillors were the second-highest paid in the country, she said: “Inevitably, such a salary removes Council members from the realities of life for working people.

Sawant, the first Socialist to be elected in Seattle in about 100 years, was elected in November on a platform including support for a $15 an hour minimum wage, affordable housing and higher taxes on the wealthy.

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