Speaking at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver recently, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead nailed the stakes for Western states in the upcoming presidential election.
“We are proudly number 1 in coal production, number 2 in natural gas production… number 8 in oil … “
“We recognize the value of using these natural resources not just for our state, but what they mean to our country,” said Mead, speaking as a surrogate on behalf of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “And as we used to talk about energy independence for this country, it was often branded as political rhetoric. But with the right president, the right president, we can make that a reality. We have the resources to do it.”
Mead’s speech, “Romney or Obama: The Clearest Choice,” described a vision for the West encompassing energy and resource development, responsible deregulation and states’ rights.
Mead’s focus was on Wyoming, but states such as Colorado and New Mexico also have huge stakes in the energy economy. Data published by the Western Energy Alliance shows Wyoming with 12,531 direct jobs in oil and gas, with $1.28 billion in wages. Colorado counts 16,792 direct jobs and $2 billion in wages. New Mexico counts 10,819 direct jobs, with $889 million in wages.
Adding in supplier impacts and induced economic impacts more than doubles the job and wages numbers, according to the analysis. Federal and state tax revenues associated with oil and gas in the three states total billions of dollars.
Wyoming’s Republican governor has spoken previously of a Western ethic for growth and prosperity [see CNBC video above from August 2011]. At the Western Conservative Summit, Mead spoke about having a president who “knows the value of the West.” His remarks there on June 30 are transcribed from a recording…
“It is in our nature; it is in our being to be fiscally restrained and to be supportive of state rights. … “
“The fact is it’s the private sector who has put Wyoming in that wonderful position. And I bring those facts up about our tax climate, about being business-friendly because as we consider the future of this country, it could be that with a new president we too could have this across this country. And wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing– to have less regulations and less taxes and businesses booming? It is absolutely critical that our next president knows the value of the West to our country. It is critical that our next president appreciates religious freedom. It is critical that our next president appreciates state rights…”
“Only one candidate knows and appreciates the West. Ladies and gentlemen that candidate is Mitt Romney.”
[Cross-posted from Tom Intorcio at Who Said / New Mexico.]