NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo will host the first 2020 presidential primary debate in June of 2019. This is part of a series of BFIA’s coverage and commentary of the announcement speeches by the declared Democratic candidates for president for 2020 in no particular order. To view the previous candidate announcement posts type the candidate’s name in the search box on this page.
You have to respect a candidate who is not trying to avoid a conversation about guns, who is making the problem of gun violence his primary campaign issue. And he made no pandering statements about the second amendment here either.
Eric Swalwell’s announcement speech was 45 minutes, one of the longer speeches.
Campaign theme: “Go big. Be bold. Do good.”
Opening joke looking out at the crowd, “I see a few of my former teachers who are very surprised to see me here today.”
Opening personal anecdote was about his paper route (the journalism business). “You can learn a lot about America riding your bike through a town at 6 am. every morning…”
Middle class roots, born in Sac City, Iowa, dad a cop, mom sold wedding cakes out of the garage.
First person in family to go to college.
Not taking corporate PAC $ and “we won’t be driven by the polls.”
“I’m starting with guns.”
About 14 minutes in: As a former prosecutor
… I saw firsthand the ungodly and permanent damage wreaked by weapons in the hands of irresponsible people. On one case that I prosecuted I met a woman whose son had been killed by a round from an AK-47. His name was Gary Jackson. A gunman fired forty times at Gary, hit him just once in the back of his thigh. I can still hear his mom asking me in the witness waiting room, “Isn’t that where you want to be hit if you had to get shot?” Not with an assault weapon. The autopsy doctor testified that the sheer energy from one round was enough to kill him.
Gun violence defined my first days in congress. In 2013 I and eighty others were just emerging from our freshman class orientation when the news of the Sandy Hook massacre flattened us. Just like you I was horrified. I was horrified by the suffering and the loss… But I also thought, I am so glad to be a part of the first congress to actually do something about these senseless slaughters.
But I don’t have to tell you this: Congress did nothing. Just as we did nothing after Charleston. Nothing after San Bernadino. Pulse. Vegas. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Moments of silence when all our country needed were moments of action.
So when Parkland happened and they joined the far too long list of American towns and cities devastated by a mad man with unrestricted weaponry I expected the same ritual to unfold. Shock. Anger. Accusations. And nothing happening in Washington. Thoughts and prayers used as an alibi for inaction.
But the students there and their families decided not to allow that. You decided not to allow that. They instead took a stand to lead. And they knew they would be attacked for it. They knew they would be exposing themselves to ridicule and hate, purely political targets in a different kind of crossfire. But they did the right thing anyway.
You supported them. Righteously. Fearlessly. With the nation behind them they picked themselves up from unimaginable grief. They organized. You organized. They marched. You marched. We made our voices heard and seventeen NRA endorsing incumbents were removed from office. We did that. We did that. They reminded us that life itself means more than the bottom line of a gun and ammo manufacturer or the cynical politicians they support and control.”
Visit Eric Swalwell’s campaign website ericswalwell.com/