Ralph Emerson Swing was born November 4, 1874 in San Bernardino, California to Mr. and Mrs. James Wesley and Mary Garner Swing. His knowledge of politics and the law were areas of expertise inherited from both his mother and father. Future Senator Swing learned the value of hard work toiling at his father's side in the family store situated in a brick building at 4th and D. Streets in San Bernardino. Swing completed his primary education graduating from San Bernardino High in 1895. Upon graduation, Swing secured work in the law offices of Mr. George B. Cole, a job that affored him an opportunity to follow the pat of his noted uncle Mr. Randolph Swing, the San Bernardino county representative during California's Second Constitutional Convention "1878-1879". After completing a two year apprenticeship under Mr. Cole in 1897 Swing received a certificate licensing him to practice law in the courts of the state of California.
It was at this juncture that Ralph Emerson Swing 'having established a solid reputation during his tenure with Mr. Cole,' set about establishing the independent practice that consumed his attention from 1897-1899. In 1899 the young barrister formed a partnership with Mr. John P. Hight, a noted attorney of many years in the city of San Bernardino. Operating from an office in the Garner building, the pair enjoyed moderate success until 1902 at which time Mr. Swing accepted an invitation to serve the city of his birth in the capacity of City Attorney. 1902 was also the year Mr. Swing and Ms. Pearl Harris were joined in matrimony. Mr. Swing's time as City Attorney was spent writing and instituting policies and ordinances aimed at controlling crime and vice or more appropriately limiting it to "a proscribed area." Many of the ordinances prescribing the acceptable limits of the vice-district, valid use of slot machines and other gambling related devices and activities would serve as templates for a number of state bills authored by Senator Swing during his long and noted tenure in the State Senate. In addition to the aforementioned achievements Senator Swing also served a term as the City Attorney of Upland, California and founding the National Orange Show in San Bernardino of which he served as the first president in 1910.
An astute politician who at the time of his retirement in 1950 was known as the dean of the senate. Among his legislative accomplishments were bills forcing the decentralization of state offices and the restoration of public utility property to local assessment roles. Other noted bills sponsored or authored by Senator Swing of note were the State Agricultural Proration Act., of 1938 and several liquor and gambling related bills. Ever the astute businessman, Senator Swing spent his waning years with his second wife Adelaide developing a 2,000 acre property on the North shore of Salton Sea known as the Desert Sea Ranch. A large portion of this property was devoted to a tangerine farm the enterprising former Senator and noted attorney market under the name of his ranch. Senator Swing was survived by his wife Adelaide, son Everett H. Swing a San Bernardino attorney and a brother Congressman Phil David Swing of San Diego. Congressman Swing joined his brother in authoring the Johnson-Swing bill which led to the development of the Hoover Dam.
Pearl M Harris Swing
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