| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – Longtime state Rep. Benjamin Sean admitted that hearing his son, Benjamin Swan Jr. had decided to run for his seat “quite surprised me.”
The elder and younger Swan made their respective announcements at a press conference at the state representative’s district office in Mason Square on May 24.
Swan Sr. will step down from his position at the end of his term, while Swan Jr. said he would begin his campaign to win the seat.
Republican Michael Jones has announced he intends to run, while fellow Democrat Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams also has been reported to be a candidate. Williams had run once before against the elder Swan and lost.
Swan Sr. said he had urged his son to consider running for the office. Swan Jr. has been instrumental in the revival of the McKnight neighborhood Council where he had served as president.
Swan Sr. called his son “highly ethical” and praised him, while Swan Jr. emphasized his own experience and credentials
He said, “ I don’t have my father’s voice, but I do have my voice. I am my own man. I was raised by two great parents to be an independent, critically thinking and fair-minded individual. I’m old enough to have an opinion in many subjects – and to recognize that others may hold different opinions. But I am experienced enough to know that change doesn’t occur without involvement and that we are stronger when we work together.”
He continued, “Let me be clear: I do not believe I am entitled to this seat because my name is Ben Swan Jr. Swans are not any more special than any other family in this district. As I teach my children, ‘You are no greater than any other person and no one is greater than you.’ As well, we are each the sum or some function of our own experiences and should strive to make good choices toward achieving our potential.”
Swan Jr. has been employed in the information technology fields for the last 30 years with stints at Smith & Wesson and MassMutual. He lives in the McKnight neighborhood with his wife and three daughters. He and his wife are also foster parents.
When asked what he thought was the biggest challenge facing the 11th Hampden District, the younger Swan said, “Jobs.” He recounted how he witnessed the effects of automation on the workforce at Smith & Wesson.
“People are concerned about the state of the nation and the economy,” he said.
Swan Sr., who began his service in the House in 1994, said the decision not to run was “not an easy decision to make.”
He said when some people in his district learned of his decision there was a mixed reaction. He noted some people said, “Isn’t it about time you went fishing or something?”
He continued, “Some people think I should be there forever.”
Got a comment about this story? Go to http://speakout.thereminder.com and let us know.