Al Swift served sixteen years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the state of Washington’s second Congressional district. His highly respected leadership qualities enabled him to be one of a select few Members who wielded two gavels simultaneously. A member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, he chaired the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Superfund, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), railroads, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Swift gained a reputation as a moderate, hard-working, pro-business Democrat that was a deal-maker and had a knack for retaining substantive knowledge and legislating on point. He became the de facto chairman of a caucus of moderates who broke a long deadlock between environmentalist and pro-industry factions on the Clean Air Act.
Throughout his career, Swift took on many difficult issues, often those without political glamour, and developed effective bipartisan coalitions to move them forward. Collaborating with Rep. Tom Tauke of Iowa, he co-authored landmark telecommunications legislation. Swift also led the motor-voter registration and campaign finance reform in the House. He is the author of numerous laws in fields as varied as energy, transportation and election reporting.
Before being elected to Congress, Swift was a broadcaster in his home state of Washington, where he was Director of News and Public Affairs for KVOS-TV and the winner of a regional Emmy for excellence. He was Washington’s beloved evening anchorman for eleven years, but as the Congressional Quarterly noted, “it is hard to imagine anyone doing more than Swift to dispel the stereotype of the local TV anchorman as a prisoner of style over substance.”
After serving in Congress, Swift served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Burlington Northern Railroad. He worked diligently to re-establish Amtrak service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. He reorganized their political action committee and placed the department on the political map.
Swift passed away on April 20, 2018.