Vern Swanson was born in Clay Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University in 1969, and completed post-graduate work from 1969 to 1970. He served in the U.S. Army and Kansas Army National Guard from 1963 to 1969.
He served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015. He served as a member and president of the Clay County board of education.
He and his wife, Susie, have two children.
Swanson was elected to the Kansas Historical Foundation Board of Directors in 2016.