Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant, a former software engineer and economics professor who grew up in India, faced an unprecedented recall election to remove her from office on Tuesday. Sawant is the longest-serving member on the current council and the first socialist in modern times to be voted into the office. Here’s a look at some of the most defining moments in her career leading to Tuesday’s vote by the constituents of District 3, which includes Capitol Hill, the Central District, Madison Park, Leschi, Madrona, and parts of surrounding neighborhoods.

2012 Sawant's run for a seat in the Washington state House of Representatives is unsuccessful. She loses to Democratic incumbent Frank Chopp.
2013 Sawant campaigns for a council position on a promise to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
2014 Sawant joins the Seattle City Council after defeating four-term incumbent Richard Conlin in the November 2013 election.
Council approves historic $15 minimum wage.
2015 Elections to the City Council change to a district-representation system approved by voters in 2013.
2016 After a victory over Pamela Banks in the November 2015 election, Sawant starts a new term representing District 3, which includes Capitol Hill, the Central District and parts of surrounding neighborhoods.
Sawant-proposed legislation to put limits on renters’ move-in costs is approved by the council.
2017 Following legislation introduced by Sawant, the city cuts banking ties with Wells Fargo because of the bank’s role as a lender in the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
2018 Sawant campaigns in favor of a head tax on corporations. The council approves the measure but it repeals it soon after under pressure from Amazon and other businesses.
2019 Sawant defeats Egan Orion in the November election.
Sawant let demonstrators into City Hall during a nighttime June protest.
Sawant joins a group of protesters who marched to Mayor Jenny Durkan's neighborhood.
A petition filed by a group of Seattle residents to recall Sawant is allowed to move forward by a King County Superior Court judge.
2021 The Washington state Supreme Court allows the recall campaign to move forward. Recall petitioners have 180 days to collect more than 10,000 signatures from residents of Sawant’s Council District 3.
Sawant is fined for using city resources to promote a “Tax Amazon” ballot initiative.
King County Elections sets recall election for Dec. 7.
Outlined events highlight charges in the recall petition.

City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s tenure spans several mayors as well as council members who didn’t serve beyond January 2016, which marked the beginning of geographical representation.

Start of terms based on geographic representation New term begins
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
1 Jean Godden Lisa Herbold Lisa Herbold
2 Kshama Sawant Bruce Harrell Tammy Morales
3 Bruce Harrell Kshama Sawant Kshama Sawant
4 Sally Bagshaw Rob Johnson* Alex Pedersen
5 Tom Rasmussen Debora Juarez Debora Juarez
6 Nick Licata Mike O'Brien Dan Strauss
7 Tim Burgess Sally Bagshaw Andrew Lewis
8 Mike O'Brien Tim Burgess** Teresa Mosqueda Teresa Mosqueda
9 Sally J. Clark M. Lorena Gonzalez M. Lorena Gonzalez Sara Nelson
Ed Murray** Jenny Durkan Bruce Harrell
*Rob Johnson resigned in April 2019, and his seat was filled by Abel Pacheco Jr.
**Tim Burgess served as interim mayor for 71 days in late 2017 after Ed Murray's resignation amid a sexual abuse scandal. Kirsten Harris-Talley was appointed to fill Burgess' seat.
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