SIOUX CITY -- In a visit to a Sioux City home Saturday night, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., teased an audience of a few dozen about a potential 2020 presidential bid.
Swalwell, an Iowa native who represents California's 15th district in the House of Representatives, said he has eight staffers in Iowa and is putting together staffers in South Carolina in anticipation of tossing his hat into the ring. But the formal announcement is yet to come.
"Yes, I imagine, we'll have an announcement fairly soon," he said while standing in the living room of local Democrat Jim Sorvaag. Several dozen supporters crowded into Sorvaag's Sioux City house to see Swalwell's speech, which was put on as a Woodbury County Democratic Party Truman Club event.
He is the latest in a long string of Democratic presidential hopefuls to make the trip to Sioux City in recent months.
Swalwell, who was born in Sac County, Iowa, and is the son of an Algona policeman, gave a wide-ranging speech, touching on issues as diverse as student loan debt, gun violence, healthcare, climate change and green energy, the presidency of Donald Trump, abortion, Rep. Steve King, the border wall emergency declaration, redistricting electoral maps and other topics.
On all these topics, Swalwell suggested America should "go big, be bold and do good."
"I want to make a predication: January 3, 2021, when the new Congress is sworn in, it will not include Steve King," Swalwell said of Iowa's controversial 4th District representative, to a round of applause from the audience.
Swalwell floated a few big policy suggestions, including a government buyback of assault weapons, a "wage and skills guarantee" for fossil fuels workers displaced by green energy, and a "college bargain" where college is debt-free for students who work during school and pledge to help needy communities after graduation. He personally has a college debt load of just under $100,000, he said.
"Today, college is too often associated with one word: debt. That's the wrong word. College should be associated with future, opportunity, dreams," he said.
Sorvaag, in his introduction for Swalwell, said he hadn't previously known much about the California politician. But he had spoken to an acquaintance who is a Swalwell constituent.
"What that guy told me was, 'That guy has it. There's something Kennedy-esque about him,'" Sorvaag said.