Chris John, the face of big oil in Louisiana for the past decade, announced Tuesday he would leave the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association at the end of the year.
John had been president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association since August 2007. LMOGA’s board of directors reads like a who’s who of the seven sisters oil companies with executives representing the largest energy producers and refiners. He was a constant presence around the State Capitol pushing for laws and tax rules that favored the energy industry, one of the state’s largest employers.
“The oil and gas industry is very exciting, challenging and critical to America’s energy security. For the past 11 years, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside some wonderful people through both good and bad times. I’m incredibly proud of all we have accomplished,” John said in a press statement.
John said it was time for him “to move on to our next adventure.”
“As a state legislator, congressman and president of LMOGA, Chris has been passionate in always advocating the best interests of Louisiana’s people and it’s cornerstone industry,” LMOGA Chairman Frederick B. Palmer said in a news release. Palmer is the State Government Relations Manager for Shell Oil Company.
LMOGA is forming a search committee to find John’s replacement. LMOGA General Counsel Tyler Gray will serve as acting president.
John is the last of the lions of special interest lobbyists at the State Capitol. Preceding his departure was Dan Borné, who retired from the Louisiana Chemical Association that represented petro-chemical manufacturers, and Don Briggs, whose Louisiana Oil and Gas Association represented smaller oilfield producers.
John had taken a less confrontational role and preferred to work with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, which sometimes put him at odds with other oil men and businessmen, many of whom favor Republican politicians and philosophies.
John had been congressman of Acadiana’s 7th Congressional District from 1997 to 2005. Before running for Congress, Johns was a state representative for Crowley from 1987 to 1995, holding the seat his father had held for years. The 7th was disbanded and merged with 3rd District after the 2010 census. He vacated the seat to run for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in an especially mean-spirited campaign against then U.S. Rep. David Vitter, a Metairie Republican. John N. Kennedy ran to Johns’ left and split the Democratic vote. Kennedy then switched to the Republican Party and replaced Vitter in the Senate last year.
After losing the Senate race, John became the chief lobbyist for the U.S. Oil & Gas Association in Washington, D.C. He remained on the group’s executive committee after returning to Louisiana to take the helm of LMOGA.
John will be 59 on Jan. 5. His father-in-law is state Sen. John Smith, R-Leesville.
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