Alfred Swanson Jr.: Candidate Profile
Cook County Circuit Court (Democrat)
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Oak Park
Family: Married, father (3 daughters) and grandfather (of six)
Occupation: Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Education: J.D., with honors, Chicago Kent College of Law, 1982
Bachelor's of Science, Journalism and Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana
Civic involvement: I am active in my community by participating in the following: Grace Lutheran Church: Elder and Lector, former member of the Board of Finance and Chair of Endowment Fund, Grace Lutheran Church, former Trustee of the Church; former Former member of the Board of Directors, Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation, including Chair of the Policy and Bylaws Committee; Advisory Board Member, Sankofa Safe Child Initiative; Advisory Board Member, YouthMOVEIllinois. I was active in youth sporting programs and school activities when my children were young; formerly vice-chair of the Human Relations Commission in Hanover Park; Volunteer Fireman in the Ontarioviille Fire Protection District (Hanover Park, IL
Elected offices held: Village Trustee, River Forest, 1997 -- 2007
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is that?
I have always viewed being a Judge as the pinnacle of the legal profession. Being a Judge is particularly rewarding when I can see that my decisions and, in particular, my demeanor impact people's lives. My desire to be a Judge is grounded in my desire to help people. I am particularly gratified when, on my mortgage foreclosure calls, I am able to see the tension ease from people's faces as I explain the foreclosure process and let them know there is time and there are options that might help them work through the issues they face.
My judicial philosophy is to be the best person I can be, to treat everyone within the court and judicial system equally, fairly, decently and with kindness and to rule based on a careful examination of the facts and evidence of the case and applying that evidence to the applicable law.
I am a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County having been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2010. I am currently assigned to the Chancery Division where I hear mortgage foreclosure cases. My prior judicial experience was in the First Municipal District -- Traffic Court, evictions, non-jury contract and tort calls and others for brief times. I was an attorney in private practice with the firms of Greene & Letts; Friedman & Holtz and Jones, Ware and Grenard. I was also an Administrative Adjudication Hearing Officer, Village of River Forest (2007-2009).
I have been found qualifed or recommended to serve as a judge by all 12 bar associations that rate judicial candidates.
I believe my judicial experience, when combined with my journalism background, and my life experience as a husband, father and grandfather, enables me to see things from a broader perspective -- it makes me a better judge.
What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?
I believe what differentiates me from my opponent is my 3+ years of actual judicial experience. I do not believe there is any substitute for experience. The Chicago Bar Association has commented: "Judge Swanson has extensive civil litigation experience and is well regarded for his knowledge of the law, work ethic and fine judicial temperament." The Chicago Council of Lawyers has commented: "As a practitioner, Judge Swanson was considered to have good legal ability and temperament. He was highly regarded as a solid and diligent practitioner. As a judge, he is praised for his temperament and for his courtroom management skills."
Finally, is there anything we haven't asked about that you feel we should know?
I love photography. In the days of 33mm photography, I processed and mounted my own 35mm slides.