During last week’s Republican Party of Texas Convention, Kevin Sparks, the state senator-elect for Senate District 31, sat down for an interview with Texas Scorecard to discuss the state’s oil and gas industry.

Last fall, the district’s incumbent, State Sen. Kel Seliger (R–Amarillo), announced his retirement from the Texas Senate after spending nearly 20 years in the seat. While in office, Seliger gained a reputation as one of the most liberal Republican senators after voting against conservative priorities like property tax reform and shooting down legislation to secure Texas’ elections.

In contrast, Sparks, a businessman from Midland, ran on markedly conservative issues such as border security and election integrity. Although the Republican primary included four candidates, he emerged as the favored candidate after former President Donald Trump endorsed his campaign.

In the March election, Sparks defeated his four opponents with 55 percent of the vote. He is expected to win the seat unopposed, as no Democrat or third-party candidate is running.

In his interview with Texas Scorecard, Sparks criticized the Biden administration and highlighted how federal regulations hamper Texas’ oil and gas industry.

“We’ve got to continue to push back against the federal government,” said Sparks. “We saw during the Obama administration … it’s a huge onslaught of regulation against producing hydrocarbons. And during the Trump era, they were able to peel most of that back. Well, starting Day 1 with the Biden administration, they reversed course on all of that, and they’ve been very vocal about that … they’re completely against any type of hydrocarbon fuel.”

Additionally, Sparks described how he believes international institutions withhold funds to undermine the United States’ oil and gas industry in favor of “environmentally friendly” options.

“This is not necessarily a new concept,” said Sparks. “This whole environmental and social governance, this ‘ESG’ that the public is just now becoming aware of, actually started four or five years ago. It’s really kind of an international thing with the major financial institutions, where they are trying to manipulate the market by inflicting their values and saying, ‘If you do business with companies that produce hydrocarbon, we’re not loaning you any money.’”

Sparks also explained how much the country’s oil and gas businesses have lost because of international institutions’ influence. He went on to blast President Biden for over-regulating the industry.

“It has decreased capital to energy producers significantly. … It has reduced it by close to 75 percent over the last three years. So, it’s significant,” said Sparks. “You know, Biden is, on one hand, lambasting our industry because we’re not producing more of it, but he’s supporting all of the policies that would keep us from producing more of it.”

To close out his interview, Sparks explained why he decided to enter the Texas Senate race and encouraged more Texans across the state to run for political office.

“It became evident that if good people are not willing to step out there and take a chance and step into these positions, then our system is ultimately going to fail,” said Sparks. “I would highly recommend people give it the thought.”

Katy Drollinger

Katy is eager to use her skills in writing and research to accurately report on issues for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.

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