David Swinford

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David Anthony Swinford

Texas State Representative for District 88 (Carson, Dallam, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Roberts, Sherman, and Wheeler counties)
In office
January 1991 – 1993
Preceded by Richard A. "Dick" Waterfield
Succeeded by Warren Chisum

Texas State Representative for District 87 (Carson, Moore, Sherman, and Potter counties)
In office
January 1993 – August 31, 2010
Preceded by Dick Waterfield
Succeeded by Four Price

Born June 28, 1941
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Joyce McCoy Swinford
Residence Dumas, Moore County

David Anthony Swinford (born June 28, 1941) is an agricultural consultant and lobbyist[1] who served from 1991 to 2010 in the Texas House of Representatives. From 1991 to 1993, he represented District 88 in the Texas Panhandle. From 1993 until his retirement on August 31, 2010, he represented another Panhandle district, No. 87, which included Carson, Moore, Sherman, and Potter counties.[2]

Swinford did not seek an eleventh term in the state House in the Republican primary election held on March 2, 2010. His successor, fellow Republican Walter Thomas Price, IV, known as Four Price, is an attorney from Amarillo. Before winning the general election held on November 2, 2010, Price had defeated an intraparty rival backed by Swinford, Victor Leal, an Amarillo restaurateur and the former mayor of Muleshoe, the seat of Bailey County in far western Texas.[3]


Swinford was born to the late Oley Earl and Hazel Alene Swinford, formerly of Wichita Falls, Texas. His brother, Jerry Swinford (1936–2011), a former field representative for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, was at the time of his death the president of the Lubbock Retired Fire Fighters' Association in Lubbock, Texas.[4] Swinford obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He is married to the former Joyce McCoy (born 1943). They have a son, David C. Swinford (born 1965) of Lubbock, and a daughter, Melissa Rae Swinford (born 1967) of Dumas. Swinford has a nephew, Van Swinford of Dumas, the son of Jerry Swinford. Another brother, Sammy Allen Swinford, is deceased, as is Swinford's niece, Sheila Swinford Wright (1951–2008) of Lubbock, the daughter of Sammy Swinford.[5]

Political career

Swinford was first elected to the Texas House in 1990 to succeed fellow Republican Dick Waterfield, a rancher from Canadian in Hemphill County,[6] who ran unsuccessfully as his party's nominee for the United States House of Representatives, having been defeated by the incumbent Democrat Bill Sarpalius of Amarillo.

In 1992, Swinford won his second state House election by having defeated the Democrat Bonnie Schomp, 17,897 (54.9 percent) to 14,720 (45.1 percent). The two candidates virtually tied in Potter County, but Swinford's home base in Moore County put him over the top. In 2002, Swinford defeated the Democrat Jesse Quackenbush, 17,086 (65.8 percent) to 8,872 (34.2 percent). He was unopposed in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, and 2006.

Swinford chaired the House State Affairs Committee. Leo Berman, a Tyler Republican, complained publicly in May 2007 that Swinford had refused to consider any of a series of immigration restriction bills that he had offered. He claimed that illegal immigration costs Texas taxpayers $3.5 billion per year and creates havoc in hospital emergency rooms.[7]

Swinford previously headed the Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee. An advocate of rural development, Swinford was first elected to the Texas House in 1990. The Panhandle is a heavily Republican section of Texas: only one Democrat in the Texas House, Joseph P. Heflin of Crosbyton, represented West Texas in the chamber, and he was unseated in 2010 by the Republican Jim Landtroop.

Swinford resides in Dumas in Moore County, some fifty miles north of Amarillo, but his lobbying work keeps him in the capital city ofAustin.


Though he was generally considered a conservative in the legislature through his support of right to life measures and home schooling — his grandchildren have been educated at home — Swinford announced in 2006 that he no longer supports the construction of a border fence to separate Texas from Mexico. Swinford went to the Rio Grande to confer with local officials and observe conditions. He reported that the longstanding free flow of goods and services across the border would be hampered by a fence, which he otherwise claimed would not particularly enhance security.

Other conservatives, such as those in the interest group known as Americans for Prosperity, quarreled with Swinford in 2007, when he failed to get out of his State Affairs Committee House Bill 1753, which would have barred such groups as the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Municipal League from lobbying the legislature with taxpayer dollars.

In 1999, Swinford received the Knapp-Porter Award, the highest honor given by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. The award was presented at Texas A&M University in College Station to honor Swinford for his support of the Extension Service, which handles the 4-H program.

As lobbyist

Swinford resigned his House seat prior to the expiration of his term. This move necessitated a special election held in conjunction with the November 2 general election.[8] Four Price also prevailed in the special election for the few remaining weeks of Swinford's term.

By March 2011, former Representative Swinford had assembled seventeen clients that could pay him between $200,000 and $300,000 per year, according to records of the Texas Ethics Commission.[1] Swinford said that he had worked for twenty years for less than $300 a month as a legislator, the net pay of his $600 monthly gross income. The $300, however, does not include per diem and other fringe benefits as a legislator. Swinford noted that he is "representing clients that are based [in] or benefit the Panhandle."


  1. 1.0 1.1 Enrique Rangel, "Swinford works as lobbyist", March 28, 2011. amarillo.com.
  2. David A. Swinford. Legislative Reference Library of Texas. Retrieved on November 13, 2011.
  3. Republican primary election returns, March 2, 2010. sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved on March 6, 2010.
  4. Jerry Swinford. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved on April 19, 2011.
  5. http://lubbockonline.com/stories/072708/obi_310190962.shtml
  6. Legislative Reference Library: Richard Waterfield. lrl.state.tx.us. Retrieved on October 29, 2011.
  7. Oh, my, Berman had quite a little tantrum, it seems. digdeepertexas.com. Retrieved on July 4, 2010.
  8. Enrique Rangel, "Swinford resigning from House: Representative hasn't decided on his next career move," August 31, 2010. amarillo.com. Retrieved on November 13, 2011.