The 2020 Democrats: Eric Swalwell

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Posted: Apr 09, 2019 10:15 AM
The 2020 Democrats: Eric Swalwell

Source: AP Photo/Elise Amendola

*See our full list of 2020 Democrats here*

Quick Facts

Who: Eric Swalwell

State: California

Current position: U.S. House Representative of California

Campaign Website: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ericswalwell

Background: Swalwell worked as an intern for Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher before graduating with a B.A. in Government and a J.D. from the University of Maryland in 2003. At the university, he served as the chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs at the Student Government Association. After graduation, Swalwell took a job as a prosecutor and was later elected to the Dublin City Council. Swalwell won a seat in the House of Representatives in 2012, working for California’s Fifteenth Congressional District.

2020 Campaign & Endorsements

  • Date Announced: April 8, 2019

  • Fundraising: 

  • Campaign Leadership: Lisa Tucker

  • Key Endorsements: Ruben Gallego 

Political Positions

  • Healthcare: “Everyone should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, including preventative services, regardless of their economic background or medical history,” Swalwell wrote on his website. “While I was not in Congress when it became law, I support the goals of the Affordable Care Act and will work to strengthen and improve it.” He introduced and co-sponsored legislation that would introduce single-payer healthcare as well as push forward research on genetic testing and prevent Alzheimers.
  • Immigration: “I am confident that we can adopt reforms that would provide a way to bring undocumented workers out of the shadows,” Swalwell wrote. “Allow our economy to utilize the best and brightest human capital, and impose meaningful border security.” He co-sponsored the Dream Act of 2017, allowing, “young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and have lived in the U.S. at least four years — protection from deportation and an opportunity to obtain legal status if they meet certain requirements.” He also co-sponsored legislation to prevent President Donald Trump from using executive order powers to build his border wall.
  • Environment: Swalwell wants to push for alternative energy resources that are “cleaner” than oil. He also considers climate change a national security issue. The congressman also co-sponsored legislation that, “Expresses strong disapproval of the President's announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change.”
  • Economy: Swalwell’s goal is to expand the middle class and to change the tax code to prevent businesses from moving jobs out of the country. He supported an act to raise the minimum wage by $15 per hour by 2024. He voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 because he said it, “gave working Americans crumbs while delivering tremendous cuts to corporations and the rich and exploding the national debt by $1.5 trillion.”
  • Criminal Justice: Swalwell co-sponsored and helped pass the Rapid DNA Act of 2017, which, “helps local law enforcement use new technology to speed up justice by letting police – under standards and guidelines established by the FBI – perform real-time DNA testing at the time of arrest within their own booking stations, comparing samples to profiles in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).”
  • Gun Control: Swalwell supported the idea of the federal government banning and buying, “semi-automatic assault weapons” as well as strengthen background checks, which includes checks for gun-show and internet sales of firearms.
  • Abortion:  Swalwell believes in providing federal support for abortion. He co-sponsored the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act in 2017, which aims to repeal the Hyde Amendment to allow the government to fund abortion practices. The congressman said that, “Every woman deserves access to reproductive health services and the ability to make her own decisions about her health.”

Criticisms/Controversies

  • Giving Rioters a Voice in Government: As a member of the Student Government Association at the University of Maryland, Swalwell pushed for legislation to appoint a “student-councilman” to engage in the College Park City Council’s agenda items. He did this in response to a riot in 2001. After a sports team favored by the students lost in a game, students went to the streets and caused, “nearly a million dollars worth of damage,” to city property, flipping cars and damaging cable lines.
  • Nuking Gun Owners: In late 2018, Swalwell responded to a Tweet directed at him. The user accused Swalwell of wanting to start a war and said that the American people would give him one if he forced citizens to give up their "assault weapons." Swalwell said, "And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities." When he faced backlash for allegedly proposing that the government would use nuclear missiles on their own people, Swalwell said people were being dramatic.
  • “Boo Hoo Hoo” To Threats at Susan Collins: Swalwell apologized to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for posting a tweet mocking her after she revealed that she was receiving threats while battling the Judge Kavanaugh debacle. “Boo hoo hoo,” he originally wrote before deleting the post. “You’re a senator who police will protect. A sexual assault victim can’t sleep in her own home tonight because of threats.”
  • Hiring The Daughter of a Wealthy Donor: Swalwell hired the daughter of William Watkins, former CEO of Seagate Technologies and Bridgelux, who contributed $25,200 to Swalwell's campaigns since 2014. Part of the donation, $2,500 in total, was given by his daughter, Kelly Watkins. Despite the large donation, Kelly identified herself as an intern at an environmental consulting firm in campaign finance reports back in 2012.

This piece is part of our Election 2020 series. See below for more information on the most talked about Democrats challenging President Trump. 

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