Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of interviews with candidates seeking the 10th District U.S. Congressional seat. For the full Q&A with Col. Mitchell Swan, go to www.rockdalenewtoncitizen.com

After 30 years in the military, Col. Mitchell Swan was poised for a life of leisure. He was moving into a new home, making plans to travel and spend time with his wife. But then duty called.

“I had several friends say, ‘You’ve done your time. Travel. Enjoy your time with Leslie,’” Swan said. “That’s a strong argument, but I realized this country wasn’t established by time, but by sacrifice and maintained by sacrifice. This country will slide into the dust bin of history when good men and women refuse to sacrifice.”

Swan is a Republican seeking to win Georgia’s 10th District Congressional seat now held by Rep. Jody Hice, who is not seeking re-election to that post, but is now running to become Georgia’s next Secretary of State.

In 2016, Swan wrote a book, “Broken Arrow: Christ’s Last Stand,” which addresses both the spiritual and physical warfare threatening today’s world. The following is an excerpt: “The greatest, freest nations on earth were never built upon the ideals of kings, bankers, scholars or lawyers. They were established upon the principles of Jesus Christ. Nowhere is this truer than Western Civilization. While the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of a Jewish carpenter over 2,000 years ago effected the world more completely than any occurrence since creation, the continued inspiration and fortitude of Christ’s teachings require the lively conviction of all faithful followers. Today — by retreating Christian devotion and leadership—the influence, prosperity, and individual freedoms enjoyed by western nations are approaching the brink of ruin. This is a real threat. But there is a solution. And it starts in America.”

“I had no ambition of running for office,” Swan said. “I wrote a geopolitical book... People were calling me and saying, ‘Mitch, you’ve got to get in the race.’ The day that good men are unwilling to sacrifice is when this country falls apart.”

Swan referenced the anger and fear that are becoming so prevalent in society and said, “That’s how Hitler came to power.”

He said his military training puts him in a strong position to lead.

“A superior leader can motivate people on those virtues we hold dear — individual liberty, justice and belief that there’s one system of government,” he said. “...That’s why the Patriot Act so concerns me. Anyone who tries to affect government can be a ‘terrorist.’”

Swan says he is greatly concerned about the erosion of tolerance in the country.

“In my 30 years, I prided myself on defending a nation where we could live the way we wanted to live — but I get that right, too,” he said.

The retired U.S. Marine was born in Boston, Mass., into a family of entrepreneurs, saying both his parents were “self made.” His mother had a bed and breakfast business on Cape Cod and his father had a furniture store in Wellesley.

“I understand the struggles of small businesses,” Swan said.

He went to Marquette University’s School of Business, graduating in 1987, and then completed his MBA at Chaminade University in Honolulu, HI, as well as graduating from the U.S. Naval War College.

Swan went to Marquette planning to pursue a career in business, but then his work with the school’s Naval ROTC program put him on a different path.

“I found I enjoyed the military,” he said. “... What I really enjoyed the most is mentoring others.” As he grew in rank and had more troops under his command, Swan said he always told them it was their job to help those under them to climb up the ladder and not the job of those with lower rank to push them toward the top.

“So many people are ‘me, me, me,’” he said. “Then you see great leaders like (the late) Truett Cathy. He wanted to create a great company where all his people could succeed. I’m running for the 10th District so that the 10th District can have an abundant life. We are in a culture war. The very first rule of defensive warfare is hardening your position.”

Swan said he is working to help the counties that make up the 10th District come together to establish those standards, such as what children will be taught in school or the issue of mask mandates.

“For our culture here, is the 10th District going to be a district of tearing down statues?” he asked. “Also, for defunding police? So even if things change around us, we determine our own lifestyles and our own destinies.”

Also while he was at Marquette, Swan met the woman he would marry many years later. Mitchell and Leslie Swan met in 1984, but it would be years later before they wed. He said she went off to pursue her “dream career,” and he was going to serve three years in the Marines before they married. But three turned into 30, and while he says she has been his “best friend and advocate” for many years, the two got back together and finally married in 2015. Swan worked with his wife in operating a wealth management company in Watkinsville before stepping down to run in the 10th District race for 2022. Swan had an earlier foray into politics when he unsuccessfully ran in 2014 for the same seat.

Upon his graduation from Marquette, Swan was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1995, following eight years of Fleet Marine Force duty, which included service in the 1990 Gulf War, Swan was transferred to the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens to serve as lead instructor for its Marine officer students.

His three children were born at Athens Regional Hospital. In 1999, Swan resigned from the Marines to raise his family in Athens and take a civilian job in the financial industry. However, he joined the Marine Reserves shortly before 9-11 — a decision that resulted in multiple activations and deployments, including Iraq in 2004. In 2008, upon promotion to full-bird colonel, Swan was activated to serve at U.S. Pacific Command in the Operations Directorate for two years. Following that, he was re-assigned to U.S. Central Command in the Strategies, Plans and Policies Directorate for another two years.

Swan completed active duty with U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., as a policy developer for the Middle East, as well as the Pacific. His experience includes crafting and implementing U.S. Policy and leading crisis operations at the highest levels. Swan officially retired from the Marine Corps in 2017. His awards include Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

However, his life has not been without hurt and loss. During the birth of his youngest child, daughter Samantha, 21, there was a problem with the cord wrapped around her in the womb, which resulted in 25 minutes lapsing before she took her first breath. She has cerebral palsy and cannot walk, talk or feed herself.

“That experience took me from faith in God to belief,” Swan said. “She’s my angel. I have a lot of empathy with parents with special needs children and young adults trying to live independently.” He also talks about those injured in military service and how to help them.

In referencing how there seems to be so few willing workers these days and how businesses are begging for employees, Swan said he is “offended.”

“My daughter would do anything, and I would pay anything for my daughter to be able to walk and push a mop,” he said.

Swan’s military service took him away from home a good bit and his deployments were hard on the family.

Andrew, his youngest son, was a standout track athlete who graduated from Athens Academy in 2017.

“He was all signed up to go to Rhodes College and run track for them,” Swan said. “He lit into me and said, ‘I feel like you chose the Marine Corps over me, you missed a lot.’ I said, ‘Hey, buddy. We have the rest of our lives as men to make up for that.’ I retired on June 1, 2017, and June 3, he had an accident and fell off his skateboard. He succumbed to his injuries.”

Andrew Swan died June 5, 2017.

“The lesson there is don’t live in the future, but live now,” Swan said. “So many say it’s not a good time right now... I don’t know how many tomorrows our country has.”

Swan said 400 people came to pay their respects to his late son and that because of his faith that “we are eternal beings, I’m going to see him again.”

Swan’s oldest son, Matthew lives in Atlanta and is an emergency medical technician.

Col. and Mrs. Swan recently moved to Good Hope and are active in St. Stephen’s Anglican Catholic Church. Swan said he was raised by Baptists, attended the Presbyterian Church and supported the chaplains when he was in the Marines. He has taught Bible study and completed his third church build with Carpenters for Christ. Swan is a former board member of Athens College of Ministry.

A biblical scholar, student and Marine, Swan has a special take on America’s past and future.

“What happened in Afghanistan was the worst U.S. policy in history,” he said. “They mis-sequenced that and think they did it deliberately. If you support our troops, you’ve got to give them the best support... I just don’t think the people understand what we’re in for. The dominoes are going to fall after Afghanistan... In 1979, Iran was our best ally in the Middle East. The women wore skirts and dresses, drove convertibles. They had the highest literacy rate in the region.”

Swan explained how Russia began inroads into Iran prompting the shah to ask the U.S. for help, but America declined, saying it did not want to “take on Russia.”

“Then the ayatollahs took over,” Swan said. “Now Iran is our sworn enemy and aligned with Russia. They’re building nuclear weapons from Russia that Russia got from us because we sold them the mineral rights.”

As a candidate for U.S. Congress, Swan said the U.S. is in a “battle to restore the American spirit and the values that built and sustained this country.”

“We need leaders to fight for us in Congress because our identity as Americans is shifting under our feet thanks to politicians who no longer cherish the traditional ideals we love of individual liberty, justice and self-government,” Swan said.

Candidates running for the 2022 U.S. Congressional District 10 seat are being asked to answer a questionnaire posed by the Citizen. A sampling of Swan’s answers is below. The full Q&A transcript can be found under Election 2022 on our website www.rockdalenewtoncitizen.com.

Why are you a Republican?

I would consider myself a Christian first, a conservative second, and a Republican third. I am part of the Republican Party because our platform is one of liberty, security, and opportunity.

What led you to get involved in politics?

When I retired from the Marine Corps, my friends told me I should take it easy and enjoy retirement. But I couldn’t sit back as the United States is falling apart. I am running for Congress to help get the United States moving in the right direction again.

Do you think U.S. businesses should pay more in taxes? If so, how much more and why?

No. Our economy was the strongest in history after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Amid the current economic crisis, we should adopt pro-growth policies, not those that would hamstring small businesses and ship jobs to China.

Do you support the current open border immigration system? What do you think about a border wall? Please explain your answers.

A nation without borders is no nation at all. President Biden’s refusal to secure the border is a dereliction of his duty to uphold the rule of law. We should continue to build the wall, secure our borders, and put a stop to the violent crime, deadly drugs, and human trafficking flooding across the border into our communities.

Regarding Critical Race Theory, do you think promoting it will help or hurt efforts to improve race relations in the U.S? Please explain your answer. Also, should it be taught in America’s public schools? Why or why not?

Critical Race Theory is corrosive to the moral fiber of this nation. It has no place in our children’s schools, our nation’s military, or any other American institution. Critical Race Theory teaches that we should view all aspects of society through the lens of race. For so long as we allow left wing propagandists to draw divisive lines between us, we can never hope to heal and unify the American people.

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Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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