U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, who has represented Oregon's 2nd Congressional District for 14 years, was unanimously elected Wednesday by his GOP peers in the House to chair the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Walden, 55, who has been the deputy chairman of the committee for the past four years, now sits in the fifth-most powerful seat in that political body.
As the committee chairman, he will work closely with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other party leaders to set the House agenda. "This new leadership position allows me to voice the concerns of Oregonians at the decision-making table in Washington, D.C.," Walden said in a prepared statement.
"Since 1986, I have owned and managed a small business in Oregon with my wife," he added.
"I know what it takes to grow jobs. As NRCC chairman, I will put my experience to good use to help enact a pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda in the House."
He succeeds U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, as committee chairman.
Walden will remain as chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees communications and technology policy, a post he has held for nearly two years. In this role, he worked across the aisle to pass a major technology law that he said will increase access to wireless broadband in rural Oregon and create thousands of jobs in the Northwest. He will continue bipartisan work on the panel to create technology jobs and unleash innovation, he said.
Created in 1866 immediately after the Civil War, the NRCC's primary goal is to elect Republicans to the House. Across the aisle, the opposing party has the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, whose main mission is to do the same for Democrats.
A member of the Oregon congressional delegation hasn't chaired a comparable GOP committee in Congress since former U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1995. Walden now is the only Republican member in the Oregon delegation.
The NRCC chairman ranks fifth in the House Republican leadership structure, following the speaker, majority leader, majority whip and conference chairman.
The 2nd Congressional District includes Jackson County, a portion of Josephine County and 18 counties in Central and Eastern Oregon.
Walden and his wife, Mylene, live in Hood River.
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email@example.com.