By Roz Rogoff
All's not swell with SwalwellUploaded: Dec 1, 2013
I interviewed Eric Swalwell on Blogtalkradio last year before the Primary Election in June of 2012. He proposed many creative ideas that I have yet to see materialize.
He wrapped up the interview with a promise to voters, "I will always listen to them, always stand up for them, and never take them for granted, and never forget where I came from." He also told me "Please never hesitate to contact me."
I took Swalwell up on that promise in July to ask him to join No Labels, an organization that encourages working across party lines to solve the country's problems. He sent me the following "Reply from Representative Swalwell" on July 25th.
Thank you for contacting me. I always appreciate hearing from my constituents, and I am glad to receive your input on this important issue.
This message is to confirm that I have received your comments. I receive many communications from constituents and am working diligently to prepare a response for each one. I ask for your patience, and I ensure that you will receive a response from me as soon as possible if you have requested one.
Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your views. I encourage you to visit my website at swalwell.house.gov. On my website, you can view my voting record, sign up for my e-newsletter, and access my Twitter and Facebook pages. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. "
This reply was identical to another reply I received from him on May 22nd in response to an email forwarded through the ASPCA opposing the King Amendment in the Farm Bill. The ASPCA also forwarded my message to my two Senators, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. Here are excerpts from the replies I received last August from Senator Feinstein (1) and Senator Boxer (2):
(1) "Please be assured that the King amendment language is not included in the 2013 Senate Farm Bill (S. 954), which passed on June 10, 2013 by a vote of 66 to 27. However, the House did include the amendment in its version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2642), which passed on July 11, 2013 by a vote of 216 to 208. The differences between the Senate- and House-passed Farm Bills must be reconciled in a conference committee before the Farm Bill can be signed into law by the President."
(2) "As the House and Senate negotiate a final Farm Bill, be assured that I will fight to defeat the King Amendment and keep working to protect California's ability to ensure that our food supply is safe and that farm animals are treated humanely."
Congressman Swalwell voted against the House version of the Farm Bill because, according to his Facebook page, "It takes food off plates of poor kids," which is a reference to cuts in the Food Stamp program. I agree that the Food Stamp program is very important for feeding poor children, but the King Amendment would weaken California State laws on animal protection and food safety and needs to be removed from the House version of the bill too.
As of now I still have not heard back from Swalwell with substantive replies to either of my concerns. He has not joined No Labels. However, in a recent Press Release Swalwell announced his leadership in the bipartisan United Solutions Caucus. The United Solutions Caucus was founded by Republican-turned-Democrat Congressman Patrick Murphy. Congressman Murphy is also one of the No Labels Problem Solvers.
I just received Swalwell's first mailer in his re-election campaign for next year. It is an oversized, glossy postcard with a stock photo of a senior couple on the front announcing in large type that Eric Swalwell is "DEFENDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE," followed by, in much smaller print, "Official Business. This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense."
Last year the better known Democrats in this state chose to wait until Stark officially retired before running for his seat. This opened the door to Swalwell to jump from the Dublin City Council to national office. Next year Swalwell will be facing state Democrats with real track records of accomplishments. Redistricting won't be to his advantage in 2014. We'll see how well Congressman Swalwell can convince voters that he should be reelected next year. So far he has not convinced me.