Most of this year our “Vote 4 Energy” campaign has encouraged Americans to consider their vote through an energy lens – assessing candidates at various levels by their stances on the strategies and policies that would most effectively strengthen our country’s energy security.

Energy has achieved a high profile in the ongoing presidential race, with both candidates giving prominence to their plans in stump speeches and during last month’s debates. Focusing national attention on energy is good.

What’s more, it’s essential: Oil and natural gas supply 62 percent of the energy we use and are projected to supply more than 55 percent in 2035 – even with growing and important contributions from biofuels, wind, solar, nuclear, coal and other sources. Whoever is elected president – strong, visionary leadership will be needed to turn America’s energy riches into reality, a reality of economic prosperity and more security in our world.

We have the energy. Last week’s IHS Global Insight study sketched an American energy revolution led by unconventional oil and natural gas. The energy contained in shale and other rock formations, extracted with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, could spur more than $5.1 trillion in capital spending between now and 2035, creating 3.5 million new jobs along the way. IHS’ John Larson:

“This really is … a game changer in energy production for the United States. It’s a really rapid rise and a dramatic shift. You don’t often get to see the words ‘game-changer,’ or ‘sea change’ used around these types of events, but this is one of them. We think it’s one of the most significant energy events in the last 100 years."

Other studies depict the benefits of increased domestic oil and natural gas production as well. If we choose the right energy path – one of safe and responsible development of our reserves and enhancing our strategic energy partnership with Canada, including construction of necessary delivery systems like the Keystone XL pipeline.

That path, outlined earlier this year, is built on increased access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, a common-sense approach to regulation and fostering a climate that encourages energy investment, including a fair and stable tax structure.

These are the components to a pro-growth energy approach that will allow America’s oil and natural gas industry to find new energy sources, create jobs and generate new revenues for governments. Our companies are strong, adding jobs despite the weak economy. Larson says that oil and gas produced with advanced drilling technology added a full percentage point to the national GDP during the recession. These companies have doubled down on America, owning five of the top 11 spots on the Progressive Policy Institute’s list of the top 25 nonfinancial U.S.-based companies, ranked by their 2011 capital spending inside this country. They’re poised to do more of the same.

API President and CEO Jack Gerard, at a “Vote 4 Energy” event last week:

“Study after study has shown similar results: We can produce more of the energy we need here at home, and doing so will create hundreds of thousands of good jobs for Americans who need them…The revolution in shale energy is tilting the world’s energy axis towards the Western Hemisphere and toward the United States. This realignment could affect the global energy landscape and our economy for the rest of the century…A revolution is occurring, and it is bringing good news for our economy and for American workers and a significant increase in government revenues. But how this revolution turns out is not a given and its benefits are not guaranteed.”

The energy potential is there. The choice is ours.