Remember back in 2000 when Republicans shook their fists in Florida, opposing a recount of presidential ballots. John Sweeney was there.
George W. Bush would later dub John Sweeney — who represented a big swath of the North Country — “Congressman Kick-Ass.”
But Sweeney’s world began to unravel publicly shortly before he lost his 20th district seat to Kirsten Gillibrand in 2006, and for the first time he’s talking about the directions his life has taken since.
“Losing a seat in Congress wasn’t my biggest loss,” the four-term representative of the 20th District, first elected in 1998, said Friday.
“It was the loss of myself and the loss of everything that went with it, the harm and hurt I created for people around me who I love and love me. At the end of the day, in a very ironic way, it’s what saved me,” he said.
“You decide to live or die. What made me want to live was my kids.”
In their profile, the Times-Union asks Sweeney — still only 55 years old — about his alcoholism, his time behind bars on DUI charges, and his work now for a Catholic social service agency.