Swalwell Goes to Washington
Meet congressman Eric Swalwell.
Photos courtesy of the Office of Congressman Eric Swalwell
A dozen years ago, Eric Swalwell dreamed of a career as a professional soccer player. A goalkeeper, he attended college in North Carolina on an athletic scholarship. But then he broke his thumbs—both of them.
Suddenly, a soccer career seemed unlikely. So he decided to try something else and took an unpaid internship with Rep. Ellen Tauscher in Washington, D.C. “That was a turning point,” he says. “I knew I didn’t want to play soccer anymore. I wanted to be in Washington.”
He finished college, earned a law degree, and started working as a prosecutor for Alameda County. He also won a seat on the Dublin City Council. Then last November, he did what pundits said he could not: He beat fellow Democrat Pete Stark, a 20-term incumbent, in the 15th District House race.
So far, Swalwell, 32, has shown himself to be a moderate Democrat. He supports the traditional progressive causes: gun control, gay rights, immigration reform. But he is also a member of a group of freshman Democrats and Republicans who are trying to break congressional gridlock.
Another thing you can say about Swalwell: He knows how to work his district. He flies home almost every weekend to reach out to voters. Based at his Dublin townhouse, he drives his Camry hybrid from one end of the district to the other, attending farmers markets, civic celebrations, and ethnic festivals.
He also leads Ride With Your Rep bicycle tours with cyclists and, once a month, does an In Your Shoes event, in which he works somebody else’s job for a few hours. (Jobs have included a Head Start teacher, park ranger, and assembly-line worker making LED lights.)
When he can’t be there in person, he uses Skype to beam into city council meetings and classrooms. From his iPhone, Swalwell also maintains active Facebook and Twitter accounts. So far, he’s averaged about 100 tweets a month.
Apparently, these days, his thumbs are just fine.
May 22: Grilling brats, dogs, and a few right & left wings for my 1st bipartisan BBQ on the 5th floor of Cannon. May 22: In CA, we’re on borrowed time for the next big quake. That’s why I would never be foolish enough to oppose emergency aid. May 19: Presenting flag flown over U.S Capitol to @Fremont_CA resident Garrett Yee, promoted to Brig. General of @USArmy.