Energy was a critical issue in our recent election, both on a national scale and right here in Louisiana. As someone who has dedicated his life’s work to supporting investments in infrastructure critical to this important resource, I was not surprised to see that a recent poll once again showed voters clearly understand that energy provides a huge boost to the economy and that the economy was at the top of voters’ priorities.

In multiple polls leading up to the election, respondents made clear that the economy, job creation and economic conditions were the most important issues on their minds. It would be wise for our politicians to remember this to ensure that we continue our progress in righting our economy and creating more jobs to replace all those that we lost.

It is why Louisianans repeatedly express their support for energy production. Our state already has a close relationship with energy, and so we have seen firsthand the many opportunities created thanks to the exploration of the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf. It is plain that many more opportunities would be available if further development were pursued.

Which is what makes us care about Arctic energy opportunities, as well. Alaska is more than 3,000 miles away, but it plays a huge role in our nation’s economy and security. This is because the Alaskan OCS, with an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is one of the country’s most prolific energy reserves.

Increasing domestic energy production would increase our national security, while also improving our economy by lowering costs for key household expenses. Bonuses? It would create more jobs and revenue, with an estimated 55,000 jobs and $193 billion in revenue.

The potential jobs, revenue, and increased national security all would provide huge boosts to our economy. For Alaska, like Louisiana, it will provide local communities with tremendous benefits that help all of society as was conveyed as a critical need in an Energy Experiences Dialogue I participated in in Anchorage in 2008.

As an energy-producing state, we understand that it is not just possible but also critical to develop energy options in a safe and responsible manner, as well as maintaining control and oversight from the very first step until it is delivered to the consumer.

This is a simple message that our politicians should heed. Voters have spoken clearly and loudly about their desire to improve our economy and our security, and how important energy is to this equation. Our policymakers must take this to heart and support domestic energy production throughout our country — today and in the future.

Henri Boulet

executive director, LA1 Coalition

Thibodaux