Jane Van Ryan
Posted September 14, 2010
In today's episode, I report on the Rallies for Jobs held this month across America where energy workers, business leaders and consumers voiced their concerns about jobs, economic growth and affordable energy.
Use the audio player below to listen to information about the article and follow along with the show notes. I hope you find the podcast informative.
00:32 You're listening to Ray Benson, the Grammy award-winning country-music singer, who recently performed at the Rally for Jobs in Farmington, N.M. The Farmington event was one of several rallies held in five states where Americans from all walks of life gathered to voice their concerns for jobs and the economy. The largest rally was held in Houston, Texas, where more than 5,000 people--many of them energy workers--stated concern about their own jobs. With Congress and the administration considering higher energy taxes, many of the workers wondered about the impact on energy costs, the economy and America's energy future.
01:13 Helen Candelaira, Farmington, N.M.: I have beef with all of the people in Washington who have cut oil and natural gas jobs in New Mexico. My son has been out of work for 22 months and if it wasn't for us he would be starving to death. So please, please get the jobs back in New Mexico.
01:35 Clint Dollar, Farmington, N.M.: I am a small business owner and still can't make a living. I need a job. Please, wake up and realize that you guys are hurting everybody and not just the country, it's everybody.
01:51 Tara Lee Swenk, Farmington, N.M.: When the government creates jobs, it does not help the economy. The only way to help the economy is for jobs to come from the private sector.
02:03 Trent Willis, Farmington, N.M.: I'm a third generation oil and natural gas field worker. My grandfather rode a horse to a drilling rig where he worked. My father also worked in the oil and natural gas industry all his life, which helped put me through school. I now provide for my family by working in the oil and natural gas fields. My family members were dirt poor farmers during the Depression and without the oil and natural gas industry I don't think we would have risen out of poverty. I can't tell you how much the oil and natural gas industry has given my family.
02:53 Each rally featured speakers who shared their thoughts on U.S. energy policy. Marita Noon of the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE) spoke in Farmington.
03:03 Ms. Noon: There is never a good time to intentionally raise the price of something that is as central as energy is to what makes America great. But right now with the economy on the precipice of disaster, it is the absolute worst possible time. Yet we have people in Washington who are doing just that. They are making policies, legislation, regulations and bills that lock up land and make drilling harder. The Gulf moratorium is just one really obvious example that we are all really familiar with. Anyone who intentionally supports regulation or legislation that increases the cost of energy does not deserve our vote.
03:58 Carroll G. Robinson of the Citizens Chamber of Commerce in Houston energized the crowd when he delivered a message directly to elected officials.
04:07 Mr. Robinson: America, right here in this room, all across this country, let's not be foolish and let's not deceive each other. These are hard and tough times. We need to stand together and tell each other the truth. Washington, don't lie to the rest of America and not tell them the truth. If you stop drilling and producing, America stops working. So put us back to work to keep America working!
04:42 John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell and the CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy, spoke directly to the president.
04:50 Mr. Hofmeister: Mr. president, Democrat to Democrat, I'm giving you some straight talk. When you flew to Fort Bliss, where did that aviation fuel come from? The Gulf of Mexico. When several hundred thousand employees who work in the executive and legislative branch of the government drive to work every day in Washington, D.C., where does their gasoline come from? The Gulf of Mexico. So why are we shutting down the Gulf of Mexico? You cut your nose off despite your face, Mr. president.
05:55 Similar rallies were held in Canton, Ohio; Joliet, Ill.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Port Arthur, Texas and Grand Junction, Colo. Each one was packed with citizens who expressed their concerns about jobs, the economy and their children's future.
06:13 Mr. Hofmeister: But Mr. president, there is a power greater than you, and members of Congress, there is a power greater than you. That power is right here in this room and in Corpus Christi and Port Arthur. That is the power of grassroots America. That is the power of the vote. That is the power that we have, ladies and gentleman. That is the power of the Constitution, the United States of America and the American people!
06:51 More information about the rallies is available at www.energynation.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.