Congressman Dick Swett:: Civility, Vision, and Honor Matter
In an era where civility is a rare commodity, recalling the way that Dick Swett conducted himself as a US Congressman and later as an Ambassador to Denmark is a reminder that civility, humility and conscience are still honorable and - perhaps even possible again.
Dick was elected to the second congressional district seat in congress in 1990 and in 92 he was handily re-elected for another term.
The turning point of Dick's political fortunes came in 1994 with the successful passage of the assault weapons ban. Despite the danger to his own career, Dick voted for the measure and it became law. He lost his reelection bid by less than a percentage point. FOLLOWING ON THE HEELS of the ban, there was a decline in gun violence but when the ban was not extended under George W. Bush we reverted to the status quo ante and we all know what that has looked like for our country.
In 1998 he was named Ambassador to Denmark by President Bill Clinton a post he held until 2001.
In this podcast I speak with Dick Swett about his political journey and his life journey since his act of courage led to the passage of the (temporary) assault weapons ban in 1994 and his razor close loss, fueled by the NRA, in the subsequent election.
From Dick to FB friends.
Saw this great quote tonight:
"The person who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his or her views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the person who knows only half of any question is worse off than the person who knows nothing of it. He or she are not only one sided, but their partisanship soon turns them into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending."
Elder James E. Talmage
Richard Swett. Richard Nelson Swett (born May 1, 1957) is an American politician from the U.S. state of New Hampshire who served as the U.S. representative for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district from 1991 to 1995. He also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark from 1998 to 2001.
Richard N. Swett
Ambassador to Denmark
Richard Swett was nominated by President Clinton to be U.S. Ambassador to Denmark on April 2, 1998 and was confirmed by the Senate on July 31, 1998.
In 1990, Richard N. Swett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District of New Hampshire. In Congress, he served as a member of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation; a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and a member of the Congressional Delegation for Relations with the European Parliament and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Congressman Swett co-authored the landmark Congressional Accountability Act. He also authored the Transportation for Livable Communities Act and introduced bills to encourage energy conservation and use of renewable energy. In 1996, after winning a primary contest, Congressman Swett was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. He was narrowly defeated in the general election.
In the private sector, Congressman Swett's range of business experience encompasses architectural design, project management, corporate management, project development, and finance. He has been active in real estate design and development, alternate energy development, energy conservation, industrial development, and export promotion. For several years he has operated a consulting firm doing business in the United States and eastern and central Europe. He is a licensed architect in California and New Hampshire.
Congressman Swett is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is the state Chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and is involved in various other civic organizations. He is also a contributing author to the book, A Nation Reconstructed: A Quest for the Cities That Can Be, and had numerous articles published as a Member of Congress.
Congressman Swett was born on May 1, 1957, in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture in 1979 from Yale University. The U. S. Junior Chamber of Commerce named Congressman Swett one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans in 1993. He was also named one of the Ten Most Influential People in New Hampshire by New Hampshire Business Magazine that same year. He has been awarded the Presidential Citation by the American Institute of Architects, as well as numerous honorary degrees including an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Franklin Pierce College in Ringe, New Hampshire. He received the National Award from the Residential Caregivers Association for work on behalf of residential care facilities throughout the United States. The American Legion awarded him the National Economic Commission Citation of Appreciation.
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