Let me introduce myself. I’m Al Swanstrom, and I’m running for the NC House of Representatives in District 36, which my friend Greer Beaty almost won in 2006. It covers parts of Cary, Apex, and Swift Creek.
I have to admit I’m not much of a blogger. I worked for 30 years for IBM, got a patent, and when I retired last year, started and then sold my own technology business. But blogs, Facebook, and all that are foreign to me. I want to change that, and I figure there’s never a better time than the present. I’ve been hearing from some of my supporters and my blogging-savvy campaign manager that BlueNC is the biggest and most active progressive blog in the state. I’ve seen how you’ve embraced my friend, the Democratic candidate from a neighboring district, Ed Ridpath. So I’d love to get engaged with you all in the fight to take back this seat. I also must apologize for not attending the Blogger Bash. Since I'm new to the blogosphere, I didn't hear about it until today when I came here to post.
[Talking at my kick-off event with Republican supporter and Navy vet Bill Gautier, Ed Ridpath, and Rep. Ty Harrell.]
Though I successfully ran my friend Erv Portman’s campaign for Cary City Council last fall and am now on the Cary Planning and Zoning Board, this is my first time running for office myself. Because of that and because of the strength of my background versus that of my opponent, I am a true change candidate. I'm a professional citizen, not a professional politician. I spent my career as a business executive and high-tech entrepreneur, while raising two wonderful kids, Jesica and Geoff, with my wife Pam.
15 years ago, IBM offered me the chance to move wherever I wanted. My family and I chose Cary because we saw it as the best place in the country to live. We were right. Our economy is driven by our people, a great quality of life, and a healthy environment—a vibrant business climate that generates good, high-paying jobs. But we're in danger of losing that if we're not careful.
I'm running to represent the 36th District because I am tired of reading about the same old problems being ignored by the same old folks. After years of complaining about what's going on in our state, my wife asked me, "Why don't you do something about it?"
When I was thinking about running for the House, at first I didn't think I was qualified. But then I realized my business background is exactly what we need in Raleigh. For 30 years, I traveled the globe, bringing competitors together to solve problems and set international standards. Our government needs to stop with the sideshows and the bickering across the aisle. We need to get down to addressing the serious problems at hand. We need to focus on the root causes of those problems and find common-sense solutions.
On two occasions, I met with my opponent, the incumbent representative Nelson Dollar, and was frustrated that he could not explain why things were not getting done. All he could do was place blame on the Democrats and the system. In my business, that kind of excuse would not fly. It would get you fired. The same should be true in politics.
We need a State Representative less concerned with partisan politics and more concerned with how our education system is preparing our children for a competitive global economy, the availability of affordable health care, the wise management of growth, the sustainability of our environment, and the sufficiency of our highways and infrastructure.
We need results, not politics. That's what I will offer when I’m elected in November.
I’m happy to answer your questions, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t answer them right away. I tend to spend my weekend afternoons canvassing my district. I’m lucky to have no primary opponent, but to win this fall, I have to get started early. So I’ve been out there for weeks, getting to know my future constituents. If you would like to join me knocking on doors or help my campaign in some other way, or if you have a question you don’t want to ask in public, feel free to e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to check out my website.
If I don’t make a post for awhile and you’re wondering where I went, get on me about it. I want to be a familiar face to you all so when I’m in office, you have a friend in the legislature.
Now let’s turn the 36th and the rest of NC blue!