Open main menu

Katrina Swett (born October 8, 1955) is the President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.[2][3][4] She is also an American educator and the former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 2012 to 2013, and then in 2014 to 2015.[5] She ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for Congress in New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district during the 2002 United States midterm elections.

Katrina Swett
Katrina Lantos Swett at International Parliamentary Coalition in Oslo.jpg
Personal details
Yvonne Katrina Lantos

(1955-10-08) October 8, 1955 (age 63)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Richard Swett (1980–present)
EducationYale University (BA)
University of California, Hastings (JD)
University of Southern Denmark (PhD)


Early life, education and careerEdit

Swett is a second-generation American. Her father, the late congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), a Holocaust survivor, and her mother, Annette Tillemann Lantos, came to the United States from Hungary after World War II. Katrina Swett has a sister, Annette.

She skipped high school, entered college at 14, and transferred to Yale where her older sister Annette was a student. She earned a degree in Political Science there in 1974 at 18, and her Juris Doctor in 1976 from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.[6] At 21, she joined the staff of then U.S. Senator Joe Biden's Senate Judiciary Committee.[7] In 2006 she earned her Ph.D. in History with a focus on Human Rights and United States Foreign Policy from the University of Southern Denmark.[8]

She is the wife of Ambassador and former Congressman Richard Swett and daughter of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, vice president of Swett Associates, Inc., a consulting firm.[9] Swett met Richard Swett at Yale, where she became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, largely through her interactions with Jeffrey R. Holland.[10] Katrina and Richard married in 1980.[11] They have seven children and live in Bow, New Hampshire.[8]


In 2009, Swett was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for her efforts in setting up the Tom Lantos Institute in Budapest, continuing her late father's work for the benefit of ethnic minorities there. In 2016 in the company of more than 100 other recipients of Hungarian state awards, Swett returned the Knight's Cross in protest of the Hungarian government's commendation of Zsolt Bayer, a writer, publisher, public speaker, and member of the Fidesz party for his rhetoric, what she considers antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and antiziganist.[12]

In 2016, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University presented Swett the International Religious Liberty Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the promotion and preservation of religious freedom.[13]

Political careerEdit

Swett ran two of her father's campaigns for Congress. She was a Congressional staffer, first as a legislative assistant and then as Deputy Counsel to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.[9]

She co-hosted a political talk show, "Beyond Politics" on WMUR-TV Channel 9 with former Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Tamposi.[9] She ran in 2002 against Republican incumbent U.S. Representative Charles Bass and received less than 41% of vote, losing by 16%.[14][15][16]

Swett was national co-chair of Joe Lieberman's 2004 presidential race.[17] She accused General Wesley Clark of apostasy on the AUMF in the Iraq War of 2003, and for having linked Al-Qaeda with Iraq.[18] In 2006, she supported Lieberman's successful 2006 re-election campaign as an Independent against Democrat Ned Lamont[17] and Republican nominee Alan Schlesinger.[19]

2002 U.S. House of Representatives campaignEdit

She ran for Congress in 2002, trying unsuccessfully to recapture the seat previously held by her husband. General Wesley Clark endorsed her; he had known the Swetts when he was SACEUR and they lived in Denmark.[18] She received financial support from her parents, Nancy Pelosi, John and Lisa Pritzker, a San Francisco Supervisor and her husband, Warren Hellman, Mr & Mrs Herbert Sandler, Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, David Geffen, and other well known Californians.[20]

2008 U.S. Senate campaignEdit

Katrina and Dick Swett, at 2008 Milford Labor Day parade

On January 18, 2007, Katrina Swett announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate in the 2008 elections in New Hampshire, in hopes of being the Democratic nominee to unseat incumbent Republican John E. Sununu. She began fundraising for the 2008 Senate campaign. After former Governor and 2002 nominee Jeanne Shaheen announced her candidacy, Swett withdrew and endorsed Shaheen,[21] who went on to win the election.

2010 U.S. House of Representatives campaignEdit

On January 14, 2010, Katrina Swett announced her candidacy for the Democratic Primary for Congress in New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district in the 2010 elections.[22] Her more left leaning opponent, Ann McLane Kuster, won the primary election,[23] but Kuster lost in the general election to her Republican opponent, Charles Bass.

Ann Kuster did go on to win the general election in the 2012 U.S. House of Representatives campaign.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "About Leadership". Lantos Foundation. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  3. ^ Q&A with Katrina Lantos Swett - C-SPAN Video Library. Retrieved 2012-04-26.

    Katrina Lantos Swett talked about the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and her late father, Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), who founded the bipartisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus. She told the story of her parents' escape from German labor camps and eventual immigration to the U.S. from Hungary. Other topics included her concerns over Russian leadership pulling the country away from democracy, and her admiration for the Dalai Lama's contributions to human rights. She discussed her failed campaign to represent New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional district in 2010, her husband Richard Swett's service as ambassador to Denmark and representation of New Hampshire's 2nd district for two terms, and raising seven children.

    Katrina Lantos Swett teaches foreign policy at Tufts University, and is President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, her J.D. from the University of California, and her Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern Denmark.

    (video of interview)
  4. ^ "Katrina Lantos Swett, President, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice". C-SPAN. April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2014-12-01.(rough transcript of interview)
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Trustee Biographies — New England College". Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  7. ^ Beach, Pendleton (January 6, 1991). "Lantos-Swett seemingly does it all". The Telegraph. 5 (41). Nashua, New Hampshire. pp. A1, A4. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  8. ^ a b "Katrina Swett for Senate - 2008. (campaign website)". Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  9. ^ a b c "About Us". Swett Associates official web site.
  10. ^ Mormon Times, February 7, 2009
  11. ^ N.H. NPR interview synopsis
  12. ^ "Hungary award returned after 'racist' writer honoured". 2016-09-04. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  13. ^ "Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett Receives 2016 International Religious Liberty Award". International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  14. ^ Election 2002 Web Archive Record - Katrina Swett, Democratic Party candidate for House, New Hampshire, 2nd District, 2002
  15. ^ N.H. NPR story on the 2002 campaign
  16. ^ post by Eric M. Appleman at GWU web site
  17. ^ a b Essay-Blog by Kos dated June 13, 2007, citing Moskowitz, Eric (August 13, 2006). "Joe's N.H. supporters still loyal, Lieberman allies distraught at loss". Concord Monitor. (both retrieved on June 20, 2007).
  18. ^ a b Wyatt, Edward (January 11, 2004). "Tape Shows General Clark Linking Iraq and Al Qaeda". ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). New York, N.Y. p. A16. ISSN 0362-4331. ProQuest document ID 92956858. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  19. ^ United States Senate election in Connecticut, 2006: Information and Much More from, citing United States Senate election in Connecticut, 2006
  20. ^ Epstein, Edward (September 9, 2002). "Lantos stumps hard for daughter's campaign; Bay Area funds help fill Katrina Swett's New Hampshire war chest" (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). San Francisco Chronicle. p. A5. GALE|A91178670. Retrieved 2012-04-27.. Gale Biography In Context. (subscription required)
  21. ^ Katrina Swett Drops out of NH Senate Race", WCSH-TV 6 September 21, 2007. Retrieved September 22, 2007
  22. ^ "Swett joins House race", Concord Monitor, January 15, 2010
  23. ^ Kiely, Kathy (September 15, 2010). "Liberal Democrats oust party stalwart in N.H. House primary". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-04-26. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group founded to promote the candidacies of Democrats at the leftward edge of the party's spectrum, is celebrating a big victory tonight in a New Hampshire Democratic primary. PCCC-backed Ann McLane Kuster defeated longtime Democratic activist Katrina Swett in a race to pick a nominee for the seat being vacated by Rep. Paul Hodes.

External linksEdit