This past December at the Washington State Water Resources Association (WSWRA) Annual Conference, WSWRA past President Dave Solem presented the association’s Distinguished Service Award to Michael Schwisow in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the irrigation and water resources community. Mr. Solem noted, “Mike is highly respected and liked by those he works with. He is a very effective lobbyist for WSWRA.”
Mr. Schwisow has been the government relations consultant for WSWRA since 1993. During that time, Mike successfully worked for passage of 32 WSWRA-requested bills that enacted or amended over 75 sections of irrigation district statute. In that same time, irrigation district projects were supported by appropriations of over $100 million in state funds. Mr. Schwisow provides a presence for WSWRA when stakeholders discuss water, agriculture, natural resource, and local government issues.
Mr. Schwisow is a Ritzville, Washington, native and a graduate Ritzville High School. He was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving from 1969 to 1971 as a field artillery fire direction controller assigned to units in Germany and Vietnam. Following his Army service, Mr. Schwisow returned to Washington State University, where he earned a B.S. in agricultural economics.
Not long after graduation, Mr. Schwisow began his lobbying career, representing the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, the Washington State Horticultural Association, and the Washington Grower’s Clearing House. The Washington State Dairy Federation then hired him as executive director and lobbyist.
In 1981, Governor Spellman’s Agriculture Director Keith Ellis appointed Mr. Schwisow as deputy director. During his 12 years as deputy director, Mr. Schwisow served as the agency’s legislative liaison and acted as the agency’s chief operating officer responsible for day-to-day operations, rulemaking, budgeting, and human resources.
In 1993, Mr. Schwisow returned to the government relations business, forming Schwisow & Associates. WSWRA was his first client. Currently, Mr. Schwisow represents the interests of the Columbia Basin Development League, the Washington Winegrowers Association, the Roza-Sunnyside Board of Joint Control, and Columbia Basin Project irrigation districts.