PORTLAND — Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Walden has been elected to serve as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington, D.C.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the appointment will give the Oregon Republican oversight of federal departments in charge of consumer protections, food and drug safety, public health, environmental quality and energy policy, among others.

The post also means Walden will be a key player in the debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act, which President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans have said will be repealed and replaced in the next Congressional session.

Walden said in a statement he'll "focus on what's best for consumers, on creating better paying jobs and providing patient-centered health care" in his new role.

Walden represents Oregon's expansive 2nd Congressional District, which includes Southern Oregon and much of the electorate east of the Cascades.