CANDIDATE WANTS TO RESTORE 1ST DISTRICT TO GLORY IT ONCE HAD

Jonathan Swain is a business owner and community leader who is running for the 1st Congressional District. He is the owner of Kimbark Beverage Shoppe, co-founder of Black Bench Chicago and founder of Hyde Park Brew Fest/Summer Fest.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY JONATHAN SWAIN
Jonathan Swain is a business owner and community leader who is running for the 1st Congressional District. He is the owner of Kimbark Beverage Shoppe, co-founder of Black Bench Chicago and founder of Hyde Park Brew Fest/Summer Fest. PHOTO PROVIDED BY JONATHAN SWAIN

 Editor’s Note: Election season is once again upon us. This year, the general election will take place on Thursday, June 28th. The Citizen Newspaper Group felt it was important to bring the candidates of the first Congressional District race in to join us as guests on Conversations with the Citizen, one to introduce them to our audience, and two to hear their views on important issues. So, from now until June 9ht, we will have a candidate on the show who aspires to fill the seat made vacant by Congressman Bobby Rush who has decided not to run again.

Candidate wants to restore 1st District to glory it once had
 
By Tia Carol Jones
Jonathan Swain is a self-described son of the South Side. He was Born in South Shore, reared in Hyde Park and attended school in Chatham. He also played sports in Roseland. He and his wife bought their first two houses in Auburn-Gresham.


Swain’s father had business all over the South Side. It enabled Swain to see all of the 1st Congressional District. He got a sense of the richness of Black businesses, Black entrepreneurship, Black professionals. It made him who he is today.


Swain spent 20 years related to government, as well as 15 years as a business owner. He is the owner of the Kimbark Beverage Shoppe. Swain founded Hyde Park Brew Fest, which is now known as Hyde Park Summer Fest.


Swain was the CEO of Link Unlimited Scholars. It was an organization that helped Swain and his wife, Angela, get through high school and into college. The goal of Link Unlimited Scholars is to help Black students access and complete college. He served in that role for four years and has been on leave while running his Congressional campaign.


Swain decided to run for Congress because he wanted to take the experience he possesses in business and government and non-profit, community and youth and bring his voice to the conversation.
“This is a moment in our community where it requires leadership. I think there’s been a void of that. Look at our neighborhoods, look at 79th Street, look at 87th Street, look at Cottage Grove. They’re not better than they were 15 years ago or 25 years ago, they’re headed in the wrong direction,” he said.


Swain has heard people say they are leaving the District, going to places like Texas, Arizona and even Indiana. He believes if people, especially Black people continue to leave the city and the District, it will hurt the city and region and put pressure on those who choose to stay.


Swain believes that while people might not know his name, they have been impacted by something he has done, whether it was his work with Link Unlimited Scholars, Kimbark Beverage or the Hyde Park Summer Fest.


Swain is the co-founder of Black Bench Chicago, with Alexandra P. Sims, President of APS & Associates. The goal of the program is to train millennials how to do public affairs and politics. It also connected people within that cohort with its community advisory board. Swain and Sims wanted to communicate to young people the importance of being part of the politic landscape in order to have their voices heard.


“In all my years of government, I have learned, the people who get the response are the people who show up. The older groups are showing up, they’re voices are being heard and the policies are being created to support them, which is wonderful and great. But, if the policies aren’t taking into account, the ideas and thoughts and needs of the 30-year-olds and 40-year-olds and 25-year-olds, we’re not getting robust policies to service all,” Swain said.


During his time in city government, Swain learned how resources are allocated and how people make determination about who gets what. He believes that when people are included in the solution, they include themselves in the work.


Swain believes the top three issues that people are concerned about are the safety of their communities, people are concerned about rising gas and food prices and people are concerned about affordability and equity of healthcare.


Swain believes transparency is absolutely important to the role of an elected official. Once in office, Swain wants to build an infrastructure of people who will hold him accountable and ensure they are included in the decision-making process.


“These seats that we sit in are not seats of entitlement. They are seats that are really the public trust. If we are in seats of the public trust, we have to disclose and be open to the public who have granted us the fortune of sitting in these seats,” he said. “These are the people’s seats and we’re being given a trust to be able to sit in those seats. We need to take that trust seriously.”


For more information about Swain and his campaign, visit swain4us.com.

Latest Stories





Latest Podcast

Lexington Betty Smokehouse- Dominique Leach