Swalwell talks education, new Congress at Dublin town hall

Congressman previews policy priorities after midterms, birth of second child

At his alma mater Dublin High School, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) spoke with his District 15 constituents at a Dec. 1 town hall. (Photo by Erika Alvero)

In his first town hall meeting after the midterms, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell spoke at his alma mater of Dublin High School on Saturday morning, addressing current affairs both local and national and responding to concerns of his District 15 constituents.

Despite the rainy weather, over 400 community members crowded into the school’s multi-purpose room to hear the 38-year-old congressman talk about his own policy priorities and take questions from attendees.

The theme of “American values” and the idea of an American promise for all echoed throughout the event.

“If you work hard, your paycheck should grow, you should have a health care guarantee, and regardless of what community you live in, your kids should have school that will prepare them for the future,” Swalwell (D-Dublin) said in his closing statements. “I think that’s the bargain of America.”

The town hall also comes about five weeks after the birth of his second child, Kathryn “Cricket” Swalwell -- a fact noted by attendees in their comments and on the congressman’s social media account, as he joked that his constituents used to chat after the town hall, but now only wanted to see baby pictures.

And it was just a few days after Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi nominated Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) serve alongside Swalwell and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) as co-chairs of the House Steering and Policy Committee, bringing another East Bay representative to the leadership team.

California and the Bay Area will benefit from the high representation in leadership positions, Swalwell said during a media event prior to the town hall, particularly regarding infrastructure issues. His biggest priority here is extending the rail transit from Dublin-Pleasanton over the Altamont Pass, he said.

“We have the best chance since I’ve been elected in finding federal dollars that can help that project,” he said.

The next big item for him on the agenda, he said, was voting rights reforms through House Democrats’ recently unveiled HR 1, which seeks, among other things, to make voting an easier and more accessible process and to “end partisan gerrymandering,” according to a recent Washington Post op-ed by Reps. Pelosi and John Sarbanes.

Swalwell pointed to voter suppression efforts seen in the recent election as evidence that voting reform needed to happen.

“I believe that the long-term solution for voter engagement and voter security has to be that we move toward secure, honorable, online voting,” he said.

Education threaded throughout the talk, under the umbrella of many different topics. Building new, modern schools would help ensure all students -- regardless of community -- had access to a quality education, he said, but also protect against the threat of automation to American jobs, after one audience member expressed that concern.

“What I want to do is make sure that by building modern schools in every community, that we’re preparing our kids to have the ability of skill, so that even as weather changes in the workforce, they will continue to have careers,” Swalwell said.

He also emphasized his ongoing plans to address the student debt crisis -- his “college bargain.”

“If you work through college, if you do work-study through college, and you get out and you commit to serve a community in need, you will have a debt-free education,” he said. “I would also hold these institutions more accountable.”

And reporting from Washington, he addressed questions on developments in the Mueller investigation, along with the recent turnover of the House majority party and the new demographic makeup of House leaders.

Swalwell noted that 27 newly elected members of Congress were in their 40s or younger.

“This transformation of leadership is coming, I think that’s a good thing,” he said. “We’re a Congress that has not necessarily been that youthful or diverse before. I took our leadership picture yesterday, and to see African-Americans, Latinos, a 31-year-old -- I’m a 38-year-old, I’m the old man on the block now. It’s a leadership team that looks like America.”

This was relevant, he said, in particular when considering issues such as gun violence -- something that young people reported to be one of the foremost issues on their minds

And on the long-term effects of “Individual No. 1” (as one attendee put it) on the nation’s emotional psyche, and to political norms going forward?

“There’s going to be a lot of healing that’s going to have to happen after this presidency,” he said. “There’s going to be an era of reformation, just as we saw after Watergate.”

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33 people like this
Posted by FredM
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2018 at 7:12 am

I don't understand how Mr. Swalwell's call for more secure voting is consistent with his opposition to VoterID. We need ID for just about everything we do in this country, yet we can vote without it. When I voted in November I was simply asked for my name and address, and then waved into the voting booth. In this day and age, such a basic lack of authentication is bordering on the bizarre.

Mr. Swalwell claims that requiring an ID is somehow prejudicial. If this were true then so is cashing a check or getting on an airplane. And in a way, opposing VoterID shows the hidden prejudice that minorities are somehow incapable of getting or using IDs. Nothing could be further from the truth, which makes Swalwell's stance even more inexplicable.

26 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Swalwell is a lapdog for Pelosi & is following party line. They don't want voter I.D. because the more illegal alien voters that register, the more dependent voters there are that will vote Democrat.

11 people like this
Posted by B. Schaub
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 4, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Eric and I worked together for a few years on the Dublin Planning Commission. He has an honest focus and is nobodies’ ‘lapdog’. If you have an issue with a real-world problem, I suggest that you email him with your thoughts and maybe a recommended solution. If it were easy, we would have solved already.

19 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:03 pm

I have emailed Swalwell.
He has not responded to my emails.

6 people like this
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 5, 2018 at 9:48 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.

Resident: you DO understand Pelosi's job is to keep her caucus inline? That's her job? She's the top democrat in the house (or will be again). And by all accounts she DOES keep the Dems inline.

And I'm no fan of hers, she really does need to retire.

6 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:25 am

Rick is a registered user.

Mr. Swalwell has proven to be a facile, front-running politician, more interested in doing a "Schumer" - elbowing women and children out of the way to get in front of a TV camera. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, 'What Mr. Swalwell has to say is good and original - regrettably, what is not original is not good and what is good is not original'.

20 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 5, 2018 at 7:42 pm

I have emailed Swalwell. He essentially ignores input from the electorate that he steps on consistently, those that are conservative & that voted for Trump.

2 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2018 at 10:53 am

Mr. Swallwell does NOT miss an opportunity to be on CNN or any other media outlet that will listen to him pontificate or as I like to say, "re-state the obvious"....

His entire motivation is to run for President and the only way he can do that is to appear on every news or media outlet that will have him. He's literally in the news daily or on some talk show and he prefers it to be "live TV" like FOX, CNN or the evening news. It's comical and he's everywhere, yet he offers little innovation or real solutions that one can credit him with.

He's immersed himself inside Washington by joining a gazillion commmittees, and his plan is to run for Prez people! Soon he will be like the Kardashians, showing up everywhere, with little or nothing new or interesting to add, just always in the mix.

It's highly entertaining. I guarantee you will suddenly say to yourself, "wow, this guy is always on TV or the radio." He's not a bad guy, just on the brink of over-saturating the political scene with his appearances.

3 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Dec 7, 2018 at 10:11 am

Swalwell is not a real patriotic American. He does not put Saudi Arabia first. Shame on him.

Like this comment
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Dec 7, 2018 at 5:33 pm

C. R. Mudgeon is a registered user.

I used to be in Swallwell's district, but then the district boundary moved a bit, and so I no longer am. His contact/e-mail system won't accept e-mails if you are not in his district - it uses the full 9-digit zip code and address to map if you are inside or outside of the current boundary.

I understand why he and his staff would give preference and more attention to in-district voters, but given his ever-expanding exposure on national issues, and membership on some important committees, I would still like to be able to express my opinions to him, even if there was no response. But no can do....

Swallwell's views seem highly "malleable" to the needs of the situation. He originally ran against Pete Stark (also a Democrat) as a more moderate alternative. But once Stark was disposed of, he has moved steadily leftward, and is fully aligned with the Dem leadership on all issues.

Even to the point of voting against "Kate's Law" a year or so ago, despite the fact that the parents of murdered Kate Steinle lived in Swallwell's district. (I actually thought that Pelosi would have granted dispensation to Swallwell, to allow him to vote for the bill, just for that reason. Silly me!)

It will be interesting to see how much time Swallwell spends in Iowa and New Hampshire over the next months, and years. He definitely has Presidential aspirations, but may conclude that it is too soon....

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2018 at 8:21 pm

"And in a way, opposing VoterID shows the hidden prejudice that minorities are somehow incapable of getting or using IDs."

No it doesn't.

Like this comment
Posted by Malcolm Hex
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 1, 2019 at 6:06 pm

Well, well, well...

Hey Swalwell... Hello? Got your facts wrong regarding Trump Jr's phone call to his dad, didn't cha? What a clown.

And you were a former prosecutor, right??? Where were the facts before you opened your mouth? LOL!!!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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