Candidate at a glance

Jeffrey Swift, who won the Republican primary against Robert Scott McConnell, will face incumbent Rep. Bill Straus for the 10th Bristol District in in the Nov. 8 general election. Credit: Photo submitted by Jeffery Swift
Jeffrey Swift

Jeffrey Swift

Why are you running? And how would your background and experience guide your work as a legislator?

I am running to bring back the concept of the citizen legislator — that is, bringing back decision making processes based on education, local community experiences, and rational decision making. 

I was asked to run four years ago — I didn’t really want to. Again, I was asked by some of my constituents to run this year. And I decided that I would go forward because there had been no one to offer any opposition. And that was the basis of me coming into this race.

What are the top three things you want to accomplish if you’re elected?

The top three things I’d like to accomplish is one, I would like to try to bring back increased revenues to my local constituents. Chapter 90 funding for roads — upkeep of municipalities. I would like to have my constituents who are conservatives have a greater voice in the legislative process. 

And again, I am of a conservaitve nature so I am more of a smaller government, more of a public driven policymaker. Of course, I’m for lower taxes. That’s probably my three biggest goals, is to try to make sure my community is best represented on Beacon Hill.

How should Massachusetts lawmakers help families cope with high inflation?

Again, I think one of the aspects — of course, we can talk about the gas tax — but I think even bigger is the fact that at the end of this fiscal year, we had $42 billion of tax revenue, 20% increased from prior fiscal years.

So, again, I think we probably have to take a look at our taxation strategies and maybe reevaluate how we’re taxing our citizenship. Because again, that’s a lot of money that seems to be able to be just left up in Boston and then be distributed by [legislators] on Beacon Hill. I think, even after there’s $3 billion given back to the local citizens, there’s still $1.9 billion left over in increased tax collections.

What would you do to address the housing affordability crisis in greater New Bedford?

So, the housing affordability crisis — I don’t have a really immediate response. I’m a father of a daughter who’s currently living at home because she has a hard time trying to afford some of the rents.

I think there’s a couple of issues that have driven rents up in New Bedford. I think, you know, again, the train coming down has increased some of the rental expenditures that are going on now. But I don’t have a really straightforward answer for that, because again my forte and strength is really not in real estate.

How do you envision your role in completion of the South Coast Rail project?

The South Coast Rail project as I see it right now is still being formulated. I know there is a question on the ballot in November whether New Bedford wants to join the MBTA, which it has to actually have access. It’s also my understanding that that really wasn’t made available as common knowledge until August. And I do understand now that the mayor has said that there will be no net cost to the community but, again, I’ve never seen anything that hasn’t cost someone something. 

I’m a fan of it. I think it’s an excellent way to provide access to New Bedford and increase New Bedford’s already growing infrastructure as far as being able to accept people and have people come and have fun. I think it’s a great idea for us to be able to go locally and be able to go to Boston, and again I think it makes sense from an energy standpoint as well.

So, I mean, I’m all for doing that and I would try to support any legislation that would bring that down here.

Where do you stand on abortion rights?

Abortion rights are pretty well outlined in Massachusetts. We have the Massachusetts General Law 112, which basically dictates rules for abortion, and I would say that I’m very comfortable with those rules. I’m not in favor of abortion for gender decision, or second or third trimester, but I would understand the necessity or possibly need in the case of rape or incest.

What is the last book you read?

Well, the last book that I read that had a great effect on me — because I read quite a bit — was “Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Failby Ray Dalio.

This book had a very big effect on why I wanted to get involved in politics. [It] was because of the fact that it looked historically on the rise and falls of societies and nations, and it looked at eight indices of basically what could predict the decline of nations or societies. 

Now we’re in a situation where America seems to be on the decline and China seems to be on the incline. And what we see is a decline in the standard of our currency — that is, the currency that is accepted worldwide. We’re seeing increased debt, we’re seeing increased divisiveness and internal conflict, and a decrease in education. And all of these things have been the foretelling of a decline of a nation or society. 

So after I read that book, I was like, “Wow, OK. Supposedly national politics start at home, so maybe I can use some of these concepts in my decision making to try to provide an overall growth basis for society, locally and statewide.”

What is the last TV show you binged on?

I don’t binge on TV. I’m inundated with reading academic literature. I can tell you that I have just recently started watching the Game of Thrones dragon thing [“House of the Dragon”].

I’m actually much more inclined to read or be outdoors than watch TV. If there’s football on and I could be out fishing, I’d rather be fishing than watching football.

What is your favorite place in the South Coast area and why?

Oh, easy. My favorite place in the South Coast area is right here [in Mattapoisett]. I’m in love with Mattapoisett, I’ve been on the Marine Advisory Board for 17 years and I’ve been a [Lions Club member] for 31. I love to shellfish, I quahog in the summer, I dig oysters in the spring, and I fish all summer. So, I gotta say, I’m very comfortable here. I used to windsurf quite a bit as well. So I couldn’t think of any other place I’d rather be.

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