Swalwell said that as a boy on a paper route in Iowa and then California, he saw that some neighbors were economically well off, while others were clearly struggling.
His own middle-class family struggled to put him through college, and he was also helped by a soccer scholarship, he said. When he became a lawyer, his family was proud that the American dream had been fulfilled for them.
“I saw on that paper route and then later as a prosecutor that that promise of America was not reaching every community,” Swalwell said.
He said he interviewed homicide witnesses in Oakland, California, and “too often the victims were young black men, the defendants who would be put away for life were young black men and witnesses I talked to were young black men.”
As a congressman, Swalwell started “Future Forum” of young Democratic members.
“Frankly, we were just tired of being the IT help desk to our more senior members,” he said. “We took our act on the road to listen to the next generation.”
“I’m convinced that the best way to bring that promise of America to all Americans is to go big on the issues we take on -- on education, on health care, on gun violence. To be bold in the solutions that we execute and to do good in the way we govern,” Swalwell said.
He said that despite strong economic statistics, “The economy is you. How are you doing? Whether you have enough to save to buy a home. Whether you can survive a $1,000 unexpected emergency. Whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck.”
Swalwell called for universal health care, saying that too many people are subject to other people’s charity in order to receive care they need because they cannot afford insurance under the current system. He called for more investment in research.
“Instead of $1.6 trillion in tax cuts, where 83 percent of the benefits went to 1 percent of Americans, we should have a 10-year, trillion dollar ‘cures-in-our-lifetime’ program to look every Alzheimer’s, cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s patient in the eye and tell them that we are going to study genetics” and find cures, he said. “And put a whole new generation of scientists to work.”
He proposed having the federal government fund school construction costs as part of infrastructure spending.
Swalwell called for debt-free college education for those who work through college on a work-study program and then contribute volunteer service. He said the federal college loan interest rate should be eliminated and graduates should be allowed to refinance their loans. Employers should be encouaged to contribute to their employees’ student loan payments on a tax-free basis.
Swalwell said that as the nation shifts to a “green” economy, the millions of people who work in the fossil fuel industry should be retrained.
On gun violence, children “are filled with fear in their classrooms,” Swalwell said. “Filled with the fear that they will be the victims of a mass shooting.”
Swalwell said that this week, the House will pass legislation requiring background checks for every gun purchase.
“But background checks only go so far,” he said. “I hope that understanding this epidemic, that we go so big and be so bold to ban and buy back the most dangerous weapons, assault rifles, and take them out of the hands of the most dangerous people.”
Addressing veterans issues, Swalwell said that before any future Department of Defense military programs are funded, “We should make sure that every veteran who has already served is receiving the medical care they need, the mental health care they need, has a jobs guarantee, because the skills that you got serving overseas or on a base in the United States matter and shouldn’t leave you homeless.
“Also I believe that some of these issues on background checks help us reduce suicides when it comes to knowing more about who is purchasing the firearm,” he said. “I’m most worried about the 1 million young veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan” but have then lost touch with the veterans care system.
Swalwell said that "doing good" also means operating from “a core set of values” in dealings with other nations.
Without specifically mentioning President Donald Trump, Swalwell called for improvement of U.S. relations with its allies.
“The best way to take on a bully in the playground is to have the most friends in the playground,” he said. "You bond together and you’re stronger together.”
“In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt said every man, woman and child should have four freedoms -- the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from fear and the freedom from want.
“All four have had a wrecking ball taken to them in the last two years,” Swalwell said. “Let’s restore those four freedoms, and add a fifth freedom – freedom to dream.”
Swalwell is a member of the House judiciary and intelligence committees. He said that while the special prosecutor is bound by legal requirements in order to bring criminal charges, the job of the committee is to bring the facts forward and let the public reach its own conclusions.
Swalwell made stops in Concord, Bedford and Peterborough on Sunday. Among his Monday stops are a visit to the campus of the University of New Hampshire -- where he was scheduled to play soccer with the university's women soccer team and also teach a class. He was also scheduled to meet with with the Dover Democratic Committee.
The Republican National Committee pushed back on Swalwell's agenda in a statement.
“In between his busy schedule of cable TV interviews, Eric Swalwell is back in New Hampshire as he mulls his all-but-certain presidential bid," said RNC spokesperson Mandi Merritt. "But instead of offering up policies that would benefit Granite Staters, Swalwell is focused solely on obstructing President Trump's pursuit of progress. Resistance is not a winning platform in New Hampshire or for 2020."