At least three Swarthmore alumni were elected to statewide political office on Nov. 8: Josh Green ’92 H’22, was elected governor of Hawaii, Chris Van Hollen ’83 H’14 was re-elected to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate, and Phil Weiser ’90 was re-elected as attorney general of Colorado.
After leaving Swarthmore, Green earned his medical degree at Pennsylvania State University. Working as a doctor in rural, underserved parts of Hawaii’s Big Island brought him face-to-face with health disparities on the island. The experience also made him realize he might be better positioned to improve Hawaiians’ access to care as a politician than a physician (though he currently works as both).
“Tonight is the first day of that new era where our leaders must start doing more to listen, to care and to work on issues that matter to all of us, that matter to you,” Green told a crowd at an election night celebration on Tuesday.
In 2004, Green, a democrat, was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives, where he served for two terms before running for state Senate. He served in Hawaii’s state senate from 2008 to 2018, when he ran for lieutenant governor. Green, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, has previously served on Alumni Council and was awarded an honorary degree in 2022.
Democrat Van Hollen also returned to campus to receive an honorary degree in 2014. After graduating with his bachelor’s in philosophy from Swarthmore, Van Hollen went on to earn a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from Georgetown.
Van Hollen was elected to serve as the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in 2002, where he served until being elected to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Van Hollen said he would use a second term to support K-12 education, apprenticeships, and workforce training programs.
“We’ve got to be equipped for the 21st century,” Van Hollen said. “We’ve taken some steps, but we are falling behind in a lot of areas.”
Weiser was first elected as Colorado’s attorney general in 2018. After graduating from Swarthmore with a bachelor’s in political science, he earned a law degree from NYU. He then served as the dean of the University of Colorado Law School and as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice before becoming Colorado’s attorney general. While running for re-election, Weiser promised to focus on public safety, as well as water infrastructure and supply issues within the state.
“Four years ago when I was here, I talked about my commitment to serving as the people’s lawyer,” Weiser said. “Now I stand before you with a team and a record of what that means, which is advancing the rule of the law, protecting our democracy, and promoting justice for all.”
At the county and city level, alumni to win elections during the fall include Lisa Diaz Nash '80, who was elected to the San Mateo (CA) City Council and appointed deputy mayor, and Hydee Feldstein Soto '79, who was elected Los Angeles City Attorney.
We will continue to update this story as we learn of more Swarthmore alumni elected to public office during this year's midterm elections. Know of any others? Let us know at email@example.com.