Eric Swalwell is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California’s 15th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, his district covers most of eastern Alameda County and part of central Contra Costa County.
Swalwell was raised in Sac City, Iowa, and Dublin, California. While attending the University of Maryland, College Park, he served as a student liaison to the city council for College Park, Maryland. He then interned for Ellen Tauscher and worked as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California. Before being elected to the U.S. House, he served as a local appointee on Dublin commissions, and served one term elected to the Dublin City Council. He was elected to the U.S. House in November 2012, defeating incumbent Pete Stark, a 40-year incumbent who had held the office since 1973. Stark was a fellow Democrat almost a half-century Swalwell’s senior; Swalwell was born shortly after Stark’s re-election to his fifth term in Congress in the 1980 election. Swalwell took office on January 3, 2013.
Early life and education
Swalwell was born on November 16, 1980, in Sac City, Iowa, the first of four sons of Eric Nelson Swalwell and Vicky Joe Swalwell, both of whom are Republicans; his father was then serving as police chief in Algona, Iowa. After leaving Iowa, the family eventually settled in Dublin, California. He graduated from Wells Middle School and then from Dublin High School in 1999.
Swalwell attended Campbell University in North Carolina on a soccer scholarship from 1999 to 2001. He broke both of his thumbs in 2001, his sophomore year, ending the scholarship. Swalwell transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, as a junior. Since 2003, he completed his bachelor’s degree in government and politics at Maryland. He enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Law and earned his Juris Doctor in 2006.
At the University of Maryland, Swalwell served as Vice President of Campus Affairs for the Student Government Association, and was an elected member of the Student-Faculty-Staff University Senate and of its executive committee. Further, the latter appointment inspired other college towns to consider similar arrangements.
Career in local politics
In 2001 and 2002, Swalwell interned for Ellen Tauscher in the United States House of Representatives, then representative for California’s 10th congressional district. Swalwell focused on legislative research and constituent outreach and services. The September 11 terrorist attacks occurred during his internship, inspiring him to public service. Further, the attacks also inspired his first legislative achievement: using his Student Government Association position at Maryland to create a public–private college scholarship program for students who lost parents in the attacks.
After graduating from law school, he worked as an Alameda County deputy district attorney. He also served on the Dublin Heritage & Cultural Arts Commission from 2006 to 2008 and on the Dublin Planning Commission from 2008 to 2010 before winning election to the Dublin City Council in 2010. While he was running for the U.S. Congress, an attempted recall of Swalwell from the city council led by an anonymous group began, but after he won election to the U.S. House, the attempt was abandoned.
2020 presidential campaign
Swalwell announced his candidacy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on April 8, 2019.He also released a campaign ad announcing his campaign on his social media pages. Swalwell had stated that gun control would be the primary focus of his campaign. He made a formal announcement at Dublin High School on April 14, 2019.
Swalwell participated in one presidential debate. During the debate, he commented that he was six when Joe Biden spoke of passing the torch to a younger generation. On July 8, 2019, Swalwell withdrew from the race for the Democratic nomination. At the time, Swalwell was at risk of not qualifying for the second set of debates.
Swalwell has advocated the repeal of the No Child Left Behind Act, and increasing funding for education, while decreasing funding for defense. Similarly, he has stated he would attempt to raise the cap on the Social Security payroll tax. (which currently applies to annual earnings only up to $110,000 as of 2012). So that wealthier Americans would pay more into the program. He has proposed the idea of a “mobile Congress”, with members casting votes remotely, while spending more time in their districts. In March 2013 Swalwell led in the writing of an open letter to John S. Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), opposing the new policy which would allow passengers to bring knives on-board airplanes. He is a strong supporter of marriage equality for same-sex couples and is staunchly pro-choice.
Swalwell condemned the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria and called for possibly suspending Turkey’s membership in NATO.
Swalwell and his first wife are divorced. He married his second wife, Brittany Ann Watts, a sales director at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, in October 2016. Together, the couple have a son, born in 2017, and a daughter, born in 2018.
- Full Name: Eric Michael Swalwell
- Date of Birth: November 16, 1980
- Age: 39
- Birth Place: Sac City, Iowa, U.S.
- Political party: Democratic
- Spouse(s): Brittany Watts (m since 2016)
- Education: University of Maryland School of Law (2003–2006), etc.
- Children: 2
- Parents: Eric Swalwell, Vicky Swalwell
- Alma mater: University of Maryland, College Park (BA), University of Maryland, Baltimore (JD)
- Net Worth: N/A
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