Jesse Colorado Swanhuyser
Director and Staff Attorney
Jesse Colorado Swanhuyser grew up on a small vegetable and livestock farm in the redwoods of Northern California. During his time at UCSB, Jesse fell in love with the Channel Islands and immediately began an internship at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. During his internship, Jesse volunteered to serve refugee families after Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua’s infamous Los Brasiles neighborhood. During his time in Nicaragua, Mr. Swanhuyser first entertained a profession in the international field. Upon his return to the U.S., the Sanctuary hired Jesse as coordinator for outside research and first mate on their research vessel, the R/V Ballena. After a year at CINMS, the Environmental Defense Fund approached Mr. Swanhuyser about serving as their marine conservation representative in Southern California, where he worked extensively on various campaigns to create networks of Marine Protected Areas, including an ambitious international program called Baja to Bering Sea.
After years of focusing primarily on domestic environmental priorities, Jesse co-founded the California Coalition for Fair Trade and Human Rights in Oakland, CA, where he build a powerful coalition of union, faith, immigrant, native, women and environmental groups focused on reforming U.S. trade policy, including a targeted campaign to defeat the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Although CAFTA passed by one vote, not a single Democrat from California supported the pact—a first in U.S. trade politics.
After several years traveling around Latin America, Mr. Swanhuyser was accepted into the Public Interest Law and Policy Program at UCLA’s School of Law. During law school, Jesse served as an English-Spanish translator at numerous clinics sponsored by UCLA’s schools of law and medicine for underserved communities in Los Angeles.
Since passing the bar months after graduating in 2011, Jesse has split time between domestic and international law practices. Domestically, he represents environmental, environmental justice and labor union clients around Southern California in local, state and federal jurisdictions, focusing on Clean Water Act citizen-enforcement actions. Internationally, Jesse serves as Chair of the Sierra Club’s Committee on International Trade and Human Rights, and is the managing attorney at Voice for the People (V4P). V4P is coordinating the legal response of American civil society to the NAFTA case in which the TransCanada Corporation is suing the U.S. for $15B over President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.
508 East Haley Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93103