By Assunta Ng
Who is Kshama Sawant? “Wow” was my reaction when I first saw her at the API forum.
Sawant, an economics professor at Seattle Central Community College, is challenging incumbent Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin.
Never mind that she speaks with an Indian accent, she was the aggressive coyote making Conlin look like a weak dog. I might not agree with everything she said, but I have to say she knew her issues and platforms well and backed them up with convincing facts. And her army of volunteers — black, white and Asian — were out in force at the forum.
The other star is Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson of the SeaTac City Council. No, her name is not on the ballot, but her pet issue is Proposition 1, pushing the City of SeaTac to increase its minimum wage to $15/hour.
Originally from Taiwan, Gregerson is an adoptee of American parents. She has already announced that she will seek the seat of State Rep. Dave Upthegrove on the King County Council if he succeeds in being elected to King County Council member Julia Patterson’s seat.
“I am the accidental politician,” Gregerson said. “I never thought about getting into politics. I believe in giving back, volunteerism … fighting for social justice for all.”
At age 40, Gregerson is the first and only person of color at the SeaTac City Council. She ran unopposed in 2008, at the suggestion of her friend Julia Patterson, and won. “I was stunned. I ran without any platform.” Two years ago, she won her reelection by a margin of about 38 votes, out of 5,500 votes cast.
Gregerson has a bachelor’s degree in European history from the University of Washington. No, she has never been to Taiwan, she came to this country at the age of two. She has lived in SeaTac and Tukwila area all her life. (end)