As a child, Swanson was afflicted with a medical disability and was educated at home through the Jefferson County Homebound Program. After his leg was amputed he was able to attend school and he graduated with honors from Jackson-Olin High School in 1974. He earned a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry at UAB in 1977 and went on to earn his DMD at the UAB School of Dentistry. He opened his own practice in Central Pratt in 1981.
Swanson has also been involved in rehabilitating and developing property, including the Magnolia Terrace Apartments in Pratt City. He is a founder and former chairman of the Pratt Business and Merchant Association, and has served on the boards of the Western Mental Health Center, the Pratt Community Development Corporation and the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority. Swanson also performs as a member of the Bernard Williams and The Creations gospel quartet.
As a candidate for City Council, Swanson has pledged to help restore diplomacy and maturity to City Hall, and to pursue city-wide economic and community development opportunities.
- Daniel, J. H. (June 29, 2017) "Birmingham, let’s get to know District 9 candidate Dr. Reginald Swanson" Bham Now
- Chambers, Jesse (July 21, 2017) "Meet your candidates: District 9 city council election" Iron City Ink
- Martin, Virginia (August 8, 2017) "Reginald Swanson" BirminghamWatch