The one-time leader of business-friendly Democrats in the California Assembly is leaving his job with the country’s largest pharmaceutical association to join one of the most monied oil interests at the state Capitol.
Western States Petroleum Association, a trade group for the oil industry, announced Monday that former Assemblyman Henry Perea will become the organization’s senior vice president of policy and strategic affairs, advising the association on public policy and legislative matters in California. He begins May 1.
WSPA spent $18.7 million on lobbying California officials during the 2015-2016 legislative session, the most of any lobbyist employer in the state. More than $15 million of the total reflected money spent on TV ads and other payments to influence, much of it during the 2015 fight over a major climate-change measure, Senate Bill 350.
“I am pleased to join WSPA and help tell the important story of the petroleum industry and the role it plays in our economy,” Perea said in a statement released by the association. “California is a state known for innovation, leadership and opportunity, values WSPA’s members have brought to our state for generations.”
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Perea, who represented the Fresno area, vacated his Assembly seat a year early at the end of 2015 to go to work for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, where he worked on policy advocacy.
“Henry brings us unique expertise,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of WSPA, in a statement. “He understands our state, our industry and how smart public policy can ensure California’s continued leadership in environmental protections while maintaining a diverse, vibrant economy.”