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Walden welcomes big new job

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is one of the oldest and most powerful committees on Capitol Hill. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) won the chairmanship in a closed-door vote recently. He says he will be overseeing a wide range of issues.

“We have virtually all of healthcare, most of energy, and telecommunications,” he said. “We have jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.”

Walden says that there are not many pieces of legislation that don’t have to pass muster with the committee.

“Probably 60 percent of the bills that go through the House touch our committee one way or another, so it’s a big responsibility and an enormous opportunity,” he said.

Politico reports that two key supporters in Walden’s bid for the chairmanship were Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane). He beat out a slightly more seasoned lawmaker, Rep. John Shimkus to gain the post. The Republican from Illinois first took office in 1997. Walden was elected to his first term in 1998.

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