Podcast | Kshama Sawant on legislating after a failed recall

Seattle’s socialist council member shares her solutions to Seattle’s problems after narrowly avoiding ouster in December.

Kshama Sawant in front of banner

Kshama Sawant speaks to her supporters gathered at Chop Suey in Capitol Hill as results come in for her recall vote, Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Sawant won the vote and held on to her District 3 City Council seat. (Genna Martin/Crosscut)

After narrowly defeating a widely watched recall attempt in December, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant called the result a progressive victory over big business influence. 

The victory by the council’s longest-serving and only socialist member presented something of a counternarrative to the general election, which took place a month earlier and saw city leadership tilt slightly to the right, suggesting a possible new approach to long-standing problems. 


Subscribe to Crosscut Talks on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or Podbean.


Since then, Sawant has continued legislating from a socialist playbook now very familiar to Seattleites. Over her eight-year tenure, Sawant has helped to increase Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, secured more protections for renters and was a leading voice in the push for a new tax on business. 

This episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast features a conversation with the councilmember during our monthly Northwest Newsmakers event series, where she spoke about how she plans to legislate after the recall attempt, whether the change in city leadership is impacting her approach and what she thinks it will take to address the city’s biggest problems.

About the Hosts

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten is the managing editor at Crosscut and KCTS 9.