Politics & Government

Another presidential hopeful in town. Here’s what Rep. Eric Swalwell told Rock Hill

Another presidential hopeful gathered a crowd in Rock Hill Friday, the fourth 2020 presidential candidate to stop in Rock Hill so far.

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, made his first campaign stop in South Carolina Friday afternoon at McHale’s on Main Street in Rock Hill.

Swalwell follows campaign stops by former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The crowd at McHale’s Friday — nearly a full house — consisted of both the lunchtime rush and supporters from Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Charlotte. He was met with loud cheers and applause at his slogan: Go big, be bold, do good.

But what did he talk about? Here’s what Swalwell told Rock Hill voters he believes in.

Ending gun violence

Swalwell told the crowd he is committed to ending gun violence in America.

“I want us to have the courage to lead when we have the responsibility of governing. So what I will do is not only sign into law background checks — because you support that and 73% of NRA members support that — but also to ban and buy back the 15 million assault weapons that are in our community today.”

Swalwell said he’s already visited Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed Feb. 14, 2018, in a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School.

He said he isn’t afraid to oppose the National Rifle Association.

“What these students, and what these moms, and what these communities have taught us, is that they can pick themselves up from the grief, they can organize, they can march on the town squares, town halls, and win.”

Health care and climate

Swalwell said he supports health care “coverage for all,” and supports giving Americans more choices between private insurers and government health care.

He also said he would treat ‘climate chaos’ as an immediate health crisis. If he were elected, he said he would host a new climate summit in the U.S.

President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2017.

Debt-free education

Swalwell said he was the first in his family to go to college. He said his parents moved from house to house to get him in the best school districts as a kid.

“A child’s destiny should not be determined by her zip code,” he said. “We should modernize and upgrade every schoolhouse in America so that no matter where you live, your parents don’t have to move you around to 11 different houses so you have a shot of going to college.”

He also proposed a debt-free college education plan. Swalwell said he believes if students go to a public university, work-study throughout college and do volunteer service for in-need communities after graduation, they should receive a debt-free education.

“We have a whole generation who are deferring their dreams,” Swalwell said.

For current graduates, he proposed zero percent interest for paying off student loans.

“The lessons and memories of college should last a lifetime,” he said. “The student debt should not.”

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Hannah Smoot reports on money and power for The Herald, covering York, Lancaster and Chester counties. She has been a reporter at The Herald since June 2017. Contact Hannah at 803-329-4068, hgsmoot@heraldonline.com or follow her on Twitter @hgsmoot.