Oil and gas industry professionals say Gov. Mitt Romney's business experience would help bring a positive transformation to the federal government's approach with regulations and energy sector growth.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee will appear today at three fundraising events in Midland. With Texas hardly qualifying as a battleground state, oil and gas industry professionals said they're grateful Romney is taking the time to talk with and listen to them, as they believe he would bring the kind of change they're hoping to see at the White House.
"(President Barack) Obama -- the whole administration is full of ideologues and people who don't have earthly ideas about business issues," said Dick Saulsbury, of Saulsbury Industries and one the host committee members for today's fundraising events. "Romney's ideology is what's best for the United States."
He and others said over-regulation, delays in permitting and issues -- like the potential listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species -- have done nothing but make it more difficult for the oil and gas business during the past four years.
"It's just important that we are able to keep our national energy industry vibrant and well," said Kirk Edwards, another host committee member and chairman of MacLondon Royalty Company. "We have sure seen some drastic changes from the Obama administration."
Romney will appear at two functions at the Petroleum Club and then will attend a dinner at a private residence, according to James Beauchamp, Midland County Republican chairman.
Attendance at the events comes at a price. A donations of $10,000 or the ability to raise $25,000 is required for couples to have a picture taken with Romney. Tickets to a general reception scheduled after that event will cost $2,500 per person. Seats during the dinner will cost $50,000 per couple or be provided to those with the ability to raise $200,000, Beauchamp said.
The committee supporting the event includes several energy industry professionals, as well as people knowledge of the business sector, including Fuller French, Jack Harper, former Secretary of Commerce Don Evans and host committee members Robert Beecherl, Miles Boldrick, Michelle Brock, Rep. Mike Conaway, Tim Leach, Cadell Liedtke and Shan Moon.
Saulsbury said in addition to Romney's qualifications as a successful businessman, he also believes Romney, if elected, would appoint qualified people to the White House's top positions. Already, Romney has shown his ability to choose colleagues well by selecting U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, he said.
"He'll surround himself with good people," Saulsbury said. "Really, I think that's why he's been successful in the past."
Doug Robison, chairman of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association board, said having the right individuals at the head of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency is just as important for the energy industry as having Romney elected. He said a "proper balance" is needed between having regulations and allowing businesses to thrive, which is something that's not been struck under Obama.
"Just as important to serving in the White House is who the president surrounds himself with in the White House," he said.
Robison said Romney's "all of the above" energy policy that would support traditional and renewable resources as well as new technologies is a good one.
When primary election campaigning began, Saulsbury said no one immediately surfaced as the "top candidate" for the energy industry but that Romney was always on his list of three to four individuals he felt were qualified for the role of president.
"He's a business person, he understands energy and what it takes to make things happen," Saulsbury said. "He also understands environmental issues."
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