Oil and natural gas workers from around California, including three from Aera, descended upon Sacramento last month to share their stories with state legislators about how working in the oil industry has changed their life for the better.
The Oil Worker Lobby Day was organized by the California Independent Petroleum Association and the Western States Petroleum Association but this year’s turnout tripled from the first event in 2017.
“This event is very helpful in connecting our legislators to the everyday people who work in the oil and gas industry,” said Scott Lipton, Aera’s governmental affairs specialist. “They have great stories to tell and they continue to work to make our state a better place to live.”
Those attending were assigned to small groups to meet with 40 legislative offices, and each worker came with a story about how the industry provided them a better standard of life. In turn, state legislators got to meet face-to-face with workers who represent thousands of oil and gas employees across California – one of the nation’s largest oil and gas producers.
CIPA organizers said the workers shared stories about the struggles they face from being formerly incarcerated, transitioning to civilian life after military service, finding work after suffering from disabilities, raising children as single parents, and relying upon public assistance until finding a job within the industry.
Three Aera employees participated in the event and had conversations with multiple state legislators. They were: Eddie Medrano, a production operator based in Ventura; Kenny Elmore, a health and safety specialist at Midway Sunset; and representing Coalinga was Lisa Lester, an engineering technician.
Medrano visited the offices of three members of the Assembly and state Senator Janet Nguyen, an Orange County Republican, who represents the 34th district, but he got the most engagement from Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, a Democrat from the 30th District, which includes Monterey County.
“(Caballero) is extremely supportive of the oil industry,” Medrano said. “She stated that not only is it important for the fuels that come from oil, but also important for the other essential products that are made from it. She said the oil industry not only employs many Californians but provides jobs to other companies that support the industry.”
The visits were well received by many legislators but Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, a Republican, who represents the Riverside County-centered 67th district, tweeted a photo from the event and her approval.
“I had a chance to hear about the opportunities that opened up for these folks because of their decision to work in the oilfields today,” wrote Melendez, who is a vocal opponent of California’s gas tax. “One was even a fellow @USNavy veteran.”