Swalwell focuses on gun violence, mass shootings at hometown rally

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, held a rally Saturday in his hometown after announcing his presidential bid earlier this week. Photo: Elissa Harrington

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, on Sunday made the issue of gun-related violence and mass shootings the focus of his first presidential campaign rally.

Speaking at Dublin High School, where he graduated in 1999, Swalwell said, "I want to be the first campaign to make ending gun violence the top priority." He praised Parkland, Florida students who have organized for stricter firearm legislation after 17 students were shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.

"No one should be able to purchase a gun without a violent history check," he said.

The 38-year-old Swalwell, who has represented California's 15th congressional district since 2012, also called for a higher minimum wage and cited the need to address the high cost of medical care and college education.

Swalwell announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president on Monday, on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

As far as returning to his old high school, "I do see a few very surprised teachers of mine who did not expect to see me here today," Swalwell said.

Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego, who introduced Swalwell on Sunday, will act as his campaign chairman. Gallego called for Swalwell supporters to send donations of at least $1 "to get him to that first debate."

The first speaker at the rally was Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley. Swalwell worked with her as a deputy district attorney.