Pumpjack (oil derrick) and refinery plant in West Texas-cm

Recent global and geopolitical events have highlighted the importance of a key issue that I’ve been discussing in my campaign for Oregon’s new Sixth Congressional District: American energy independence is critical for both our economy and national security.

Russia’s unprovoked attack on the Ukraine shattered 70 years of peace on the European continent literally overnight. An immediate result was the surge in fuel prices that hit Americans directly in their pocketbooks.

This impact on our household budgets could have easily been avoided. Utilizing our own energy resources serves to insulate us from the commodity price shocks that can occur whenever such regional instability occurs.

In the modern, international economy, there’s no denying that access to energy is power. Russian President Vladimir Putin is well aware of the fact.

Individual households depend on energy to heat their homes, especially in areas with colder climates. The vast majority of people who drive need gas to fuel their vehicles so they can commute to their jobs.

Control over another nation’s energy supply and production means that those people and their lives are entirely in somebody else’s hands. Putin knows that he can essentially weaponize pipelines to bully other nations into doing what he wants. They are entirely at his mercy, and this is something we shouldn’t want.

There is no reason why a single dollar from any American’s pockets should be going towards the Russian government for energy we can just as easily produce here at home.

Similar policies throughout the years have had horrific consequences for Americans, as well as people from all over the world. Our decades of reliance on Middle Eastern nations like Saudi Arabia caused us to become involved in multiple armed conflicts in that historically volatile area. It’s also helped keep regimes like the Saudi royal family in power, despite their abysmal track record when it comes to basic human rights and other issues.

Putin’s ability to attack Russia’s neighbors is enhanced, and funded in part, by our dependence on energy produced by his country.

Unfortunately, our status as an energy independent nation and as a net exporter of those products ended shortly after the Biden administration took office. The energy independence obtained under President Donald Trump was deliberately scuttled for political reasons, and we went back to the same failed policies that had never worked before.

We had a domestic energy boom and enjoyed the job creation and tax revenue that it generated. It also gave us a strategic military advantage that has since been squandered.

As a member of the U.S. Congress, I will insist that our nation become, and remain, energy independent. This will deprive bad actors like Vladimir Putin of the leverage he is now abusing.

There are many very serious problems in the world right now. The worst of them involve acts of aggression being taken by countries like Russia. We don’t need to be funding those acts, and I intend to help put a stop to it.