Congressman will assume the fifth-highest position in the Republican party on Jan. 1

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Rep. Greg Walden held a press conference after he was elected National Republican Congressional Committee Chair by his colleagues. Pictured behind him left to right are other newly-elected leaders of the House, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford (R-Okla.), Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), Conference Secretary Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Conference Vice-Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Conference Chair Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Sophomore Class Representative Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

After winning another term as Representative of Oregon’s Second Congressional District, Republican Greg Walden was recently promoted to chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
   The position ranks as the fifth most senior elected position for Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. Walden, who has served in Congress since 1999, was elected to the position after serving as the deputy chair of the same committee for the past four years.
   “It puts me in an elected position to work closely with the other leaders — the Speaker (of the House) the Majority Leader, the (Majority) Whip — as we work on finding solutions to problems we face in the country and in the Northwest,” he said.
   Walden was selected by a unanimous vote, which he believes validates his abilities as a legislator and leader.
   “I think it demonstrates that I have been able to work well with my colleagues in the House and earn their respect and support,” he said. “That helps when you are trying to work on legislation on the official side and move it through the process.”
   With the new position, Walden hopes to exert greater influence in Congress as he works on issues specific to Oregon, including forest legislation and the Bowman Dam bill among others.
   “All of those end up helping us on the jobs front, which is the number-one issue,” he said.
   Walden added that he can bring an Oregon and Northwest perspective to the broader national issues as well.
   “You are working collaboratively on lots of different things when you are in that leadership team,” he said, “and it’s not like you have to suddenly get an appointment to introduce yourself to the Speaker. We’re talking on a fairly regular basis, and same with the Majority Leader.”
   While the position comes with a greater level of influence, Walden was quick to point out that he still faces the same challenges as other lawmakers when trying to advance bills.
   “They didn’t give me a magic wand that I can wave and get my way whenever I want, however I want,” he said.
   Having served for the past four years as deputy chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Walden said his peers viewed him as a natural selection for the chair position. Then again, there was a time when holding such a position seemed unlikely.
   “If somebody had asked me four years ago if that is where you are going to end up, I would have probably laughed,” he said.
   Walden has already begun transitioning to the new position, he said, but he does not officially take over as chair until Jan. 1.
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