California Working Families Party targets three lawmakers: Tim Grayson, Melissa Hurtado, and Blanca Rubio
For Immediate Release:
January 22, 2024
Sacramento, California — As the 2024 California legislative session gets underway, California Working Families Party (CA WFP) is launching a three-piece billboard campaign today to expose the strong influence Big Oil still retains on California politics. The signs call out three Democratic lawmakers who took money from fossil fuels and voted for the industry’s agenda. These lawmakers exemplify how Big Oil retains power in Sacramento as nearly two-thirds of fossil fuel donations went to state Democratic lawmakers last year.
Despite California’s bold moves to hold polluters accountable, whether suing Big Oil for climate damages it caused or passing laws requiring major corporations to disclose greenhouse gas emissions, just a handful of state Democratic lawmakers can block action on climate and consumer protections. California Working Families Party’s analysis reveals that these Democrats consistently support Big Oil’s interests, often in conflict with their constituents’ established record of progressive voting.
The latest billboard campaign brings attention to three elected officials who, based on their voting records and campaign finance trends, prioritize the interests of the oil and gas industry over the well-being of their communities. These billboards are strategically located in the districts of three state legislature members: Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D – Concord), State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D – Bakersfield), and Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D – Covina), highlighting their financial ties to the oil and gas industry and their voting history.
“Our communities are literally choking on pollution and wildfire smoke fueled by fossil fuels. California Working Families Party is spotlighting elected officials who prioritize polluter profits over everyday Californians. Our democracy demands integrity, not votes for hire,” said Jane Kim, CA Working Families Party State Director.
The analysis of California Working Families Party finds:
- Assemblymember Tim Grayson, elected in 2016, received $192,601 in campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies.
- Major contributors include PBF Energy, Marathon Petroleum, and Chevron, some of the largest refiners in California.
- Two of these refineries operate in Grayson’s district, which includes major polluting refineries in Martinez owned by PBF Energy and Marathon Petroleum.
- His district also has 26 oil and gas wells, with seven idle wells, and 17 estimated to be leaking harmful chemicals like methane and benzene.
- Grayson’s voting record in 2023 and 2022 shows alignment with the fossil fuel industry over community interests.
- He voted against or abstained from voting on legislation holding oil companies responsible for cleaning up idle oil wells (AB 1167), requiring corporate disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change financial risk (SB 253 and SB 261), and protecting communities from new oil drilling near homes, schools, and sensitive sites (SB 1137).
- Senator Melissa Hurtado, elected in 2018, received $79,500 in campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies during her term.
- Notable contributors include Chevron, California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), and PBF Energy.
- Chevron is a major driller in Hurtado’s district; CIPA represents dominant oil companies in the Central Valley, and PBF Energy is one of California’s largest refiners.
- Hurtado’s district has 35,321 oil and gas wells, with 11,431 sitting idle, posing risks to public health, groundwater, and climate.
- Despite calls for urgent action, Hurtado’s record suggests potential reluctance to support measures forcing oil companies to address idle wells.
- In 2023 and 2022, Hurtado’s voting record shows alignment with the fossil fuel industry over community interests.
- She voted against or abstained from voting on legislation holding oil companies responsible for cleaning up idle wells (AB 1167), requiring corporate disclosure of climate change financial risk (SB 261), and protecting communities from new oil drilling near homes, schools, and sensitive sites (SB 1137)
- Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, first elected in 2016, received a total of $273,198 in campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies during her tenure.
- Key contributors include Chevron, Sempra Energy, Phillips 66, Valero Energy, and the California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA).
- Despite lacking a discernable fossil fuel industry in her district, Rubio ranks first in California for money received from oil and gas interests in 2023.
- In 2023 and 2022, Rubio’s voting record indicates alignment with the fossil fuel industry over community interests.
- She voted against or abstained from voting on legislation holding oil companies responsible for cleaning up idle oil wells (AB 1167), requiring corporate disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change financial risk (SB 253 and SB 261), and protecting communities from new oil drilling near homes, schools, and sensitive sites (SB 1137).
“As someone who grew up in the Central Valley and calls it my home, it’s disheartening to see our politicians prioritize fossil fuel profits over our health. We’re choking on pollution, and climate change impacts our community daily. It’s time they are held accountable for selling out our health for the highest bidder. We deserve representatives that prioritize our well-being over corporate interests,” said Alicia Olivarez, CA WFP Board Member and Associate Director with PowerCA Action.
”In the face of mounting challenges posed by the influence of fossil fuel money in politics, we remain steadfast in our commitment to creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all Californians. This campaign is a testament to our ongoing efforts to ensure that the voices of the marginalized are not drowned out by corporate interests, and that our political landscape truly serves the needs of the people we represent,” said Christina Livingston, Chair of CA WFP Steering Committee and Executive DIrector of ACCE Action.
“Enough is enough. Our politicians must be held accountable for their cozy relationships with fossil fuel interests. The time is now to act and demand transparency. Our future depends on it, and we won’t stand idly by as our elected officials prioritize fossil fuel profits over the well-being of our communities,” said Tomás Rebecchi, a Policy Committee Member with the CA WFP and Central Coast Organizing Manager with Food & Water Watch.
CA WFP calls on elected officials to shed their ties to the oil and gas industry to make good on promises to rein in greenhouse gases, protect residents from harmful air pollution, and hold polluters accountable for predatory price gouging practices at the pump.
For more background information and context about these billboards, please contact Alexandra Nagy at email@example.com.
The Working Families Party is the progressive party for the multiracial working class, fighting for a nation that works for the many, not the few. WFP’s members and elected leaders are on the front lines of the fight for good jobs and higher wages, clean air and water, affordable housing, and strong, safe communities.