Jonathan T. Swain Launches Campaign for 1st Congressional District

Community leader, small business owner and south side native, Jonathan T. Swain, launched his campaign for Illinois’ 1st Congressional District. Serving in leadership roles throughout the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including his most recent role as President and CEO of LINK Unlimited Scholars, Swain has sought to solve the unique problems facing Chicago’s underrepresented families and communities. He intends to bring that same ethic and commitment to Congress.

Swain launched his candidacy via a video that chronicles his life as a proven leader with unique experience across government, business and community sectors while lifting up Chicago’s Black youth through his non-profit work. Watch the video here.

“More is at stake for our community, our country and our democracy than perhaps ever before. I’m running for Congress to bring a nonprofit, business and civic lens to this position and provide the kind of proven leadership that our district needs today,” said Jonathan T. Swain. “As a lifelong Chicagoan and South Sider, I understand the life experiences and values of the 1st District – I grew up here, I lead a business here, I have served here and I am raising my children here. I hope to earn the opportunity to continue my life’s work of expanding opportunity and uplifting the community I call home as its Congressman.”

Since filing for his candidacy two weeks ago, Swain has raised just over $200,000, demonstrating confidence and hope that has inspired donors to support the first-time candidate for elected office.

In his role as President and CEO of LINK Unlimited Scholars — a nonprofit with a 50+ year history of getting high potential Black youth in Chicago to, through, and beyond college — Jonathan works to further Black success through education. Swain is also owner of the Hyde Park community staple and retail business, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe, which has been in his family for two generations, and has served as a past President of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce. He was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a Notable Black Leader and Executive in 2021 and is responsible for founding multiple events and festivals to serve South Side communities, including the Hyde Park Brew Fest, one of the community’s largest festivals.

Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Swain has been inspired to share his knowledge and time with the next generation to help empower them to become our city’s leaders and ready to assume that role and all of its responsibilities. This inspired him to co-found the Black Bench Chicago, which prepares Chicago’s next generation of leaders to enter politics and government. In his previous role as a Commissioner of Chicago’s

Board of Elections, Swain led outreach to Black communities throughout the city to reach new and younger voters, inform them about early voting, and support them to use their voices. He has committed years of service to the city of Chicago in various roles, including serving as Chair of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals, Deputy Commissioner in the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, the Auburn Gresham community and the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Swain holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University in Economics and African American Studies, a law degree from Northwestern University, and his MBA, with a focus on entrepreneurship and strategic management, from the University of Chicago. He now resides in Hyde Park with his wife and children.

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