Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Rep. Greg Walden (R)

Oregon District 2

Leadership: National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman

N/A

walden.house.gov

Biography

Elected: 1998, 9th term.

Born: January 10, 1957, The Dalles

Home: Hood River

Education: U. of OR, B.S. 1981

Professional Career: Press secy., U.S. Rep. Denny Smith, 1981-84, Chief of staff, 1984-86; Owner, Columbia Gorge Broadcasters Inc., 1986-2008.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Episcopalian

Family: married (Mylene) , 1 children

Greg Walden, elected in 1998, has emerged as one of the Republican Party's most highly-regarded inside strategists. As chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, he was at the forefront of a successful GOP effort to expand its majority in 2014, and decided to serve another term in what will be a far more challenging election environment in 2016.

Walden grew up on an 80-acre cherry orchard near The Dalles in the Columbia Gorge; his father ran radio stations that had been in the family since the 1930s and also served in the state House. Walden followed his father into both pursuits. As a young man, he was a disc jockey and talk show host. Then, he got involved in politics as the press secretary and chief of staff for Republican Rep. Denny Smith from 1981 to 1987. Walden returned to Hood River to run the family’s five-station broadcast business, Columbia Gorge Broadcasters. In 1988, he was elected to the state House, eventually becoming majority leader.

When the 2nd District seat opened up in 1998 with the retirement of GOP Rep. Bob Smith, Walden ran and faced substantial primary opposition from Perry Atkinson, a Christian broadcaster who was backed financially by Gary Bauer’s Campaign for Working Americans and Americans for Limited Terms. Walden stayed competitive by raising $500,000 and prevailed over Atkinson with 55% of the vote. In the anticlimactic general election against a conservative Democrat, Walden won 61%-35%.

In the House, he is a conservative on fiscal issues but more of a moderate on cultural issues. Walden has been an active legislator who caught the eye of Republican leaders with his political knowledge, knack for forming friendships, and devotion to the party agenda. In 2011, The Oregonian newspaper wrote that Walden is known for being “reliable, self-deprecating, and largely without ego.” He is close to Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and when Sessions took over the NRCC chairmanship, he made Walden his deputy. Then in early 2010, Minority Leader John Boehner picked Walden to be chairman of the Republican leadership, a post that had been vacant since Ohio’s Rob Portman left the House five years earlier. When Republicans reclaimed the House majority that fall, Walden helped steer his party’s transition to power, handling issues ranging from rules changes governing debate to finding ways to save money on House operations.

After the 2012 election, Walden was unanimously elected chairman of the NRCC for the 2014 campaign cycle. His term hit some bumps: The NRCC came under criticism for what members of both parties said was an unseemly May 2014 fundraising email about the select committee investigating the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks at U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. "There are times when I'm taken aback because that's not the person I knew growing up and I don't think they are always things he believes," Democratic Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who served with Walden's father in the state Legislature, told The Oregonian.

And though the midterm environment was considered highly favorable for his party, Walden's confidence in a massive wave election startled even fellow Republicans. Walden touted a "Drive for 245," a goal of getting to 245 Republican seats. Some Republicans dismissed as an unrealistic fundraising ploy, and lamented the Democrats' ability to out-raise them even as they acknowledged lacking a figure who bring in funds as proficiently as President Obama. Two of them, Aaron Schock of Illinois and Roger Williams of Texas, floated the idea of challenging Walden as late as October. Some anonymous Republicans wondered in print whether he was too nice.

But all that talk dissipated in the election, in which Republicans ended up exceeding Walden's goals to reap its largest House majority since the Truman administration. Walden ended up being elected unanimously to another term as NRCC chair. He may have his eye on a bigger prize: With Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton term-limited in the position after 2016, Walden is likely to be among those interested in succeeding him.

In January 2011, Walden took over as chairman of the Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee. As a critic of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, his appointment let the Obama administration know that Republicans would wage a fierce battle against the FCC. In early November 2011, Walden introduced legislation that would force the FCC to justify any rule change by identifying market implications or potential harm to consumers. It would also require the FCC to disclose the text of its proposals before a vote. Walden’s bill passed the House in March 2012, but the Senate failed to take it up.

Walden also vowed to upend the FCC’s Internet rules, known as “network neutrality,” that prohibit anticompetitive behavior by phone and cable companies and that many Republicans regard as unnecessary regulatory interference. The full committee passed a ban on the rules on a party-line vote in March 2011. The bill passed the House in April but did not advance in the Senate. Walden and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., wrote a letter to President Barack Obama in late October asking him to halt net neutrality rules expected to take effect in late November 2011. “The people of this country demand policies that promote economic growth. Regulating an industry that continues to invest billions each year in broadband networks, provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, and leads the world in innovation is not such a policy,” they wrote.

Walden also targeted another of Obama’s main priorities—a $7.2 billion program intended to spur Internet development in rural areas. He authored a bill to provide more spectrum for wireless broadband. As part of payroll-tax negotiations in February 2012, he helped broker a deal to raise $15 billion from spectrum auctions.

In 2007, Walden was a leader of a coalition to stop efforts to restore the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting, which forced broadcasters to offer views opposing those of their on-air commentators. The rule was abandoned in 1987, and liberals have pushed to revive it to counter the influence of popular conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. Recalling his own days in broadcasting, Walden told The Oregonian that it was difficult to figure out who qualified to offer opposing viewpoints when his father read editorials on the air, so the family stopped airing editorials altogether. Political chatter over the broadcast network tends to be conservative, he said, but that should not matter. “Is it more conservative than liberal? Yeah,” Walden told the newspaper. “Are there a lot more country-western stations than polka stations? Yeah. Listeners make these determinations. The marketplace decides.” Walden may have won this battle, as FCC Chairman Genachowski said in June 2011 he would support removing the Fairness Doctrine from the agency’s rules.

Walden has focused on another national issue with strong local implications—forest management. He played a central role in 2003 in assembling bipartisan support for the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which was a legislative response to wildfires raging across the West from unlogged dry timber. He also successfully sought to reopen the flow of water to farmers in the Klamath Basin. The House passed his bill to expand the Mount Hood wilderness area, which became part of a 2009 omnibus public-lands law. Walden has worked to curb regulations under the Endangered Species Act by encouraging a greater role for outside scientists to review government proposals. In recent years, he also has tried to restore timber payments to rural counties, joining forces with homestate Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6730

(202) 225-5774

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2185
Washington, DC 20515-3702

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6730

(202) 225-5774

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2185
Washington, DC 20515-3702

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 776-4646

(541) 779-0204

14 North Central Avenue Suite 112
Medford, OR 97501-5912

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 776-4646

(541) 779-0204

14 North Central Avenue Suite 112
Medford, OR 97501-5912

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 389-4408

(541) 389-4452

1051 NW Bond Street Suite 400
Bend, OR 97701-2958

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 389-4408

(541) 389-4452

1051 NW Bond Street Suite 400
Bend, OR 97701-2958

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 624-2400

(541) 624-2402

1211 Washington Avenue
La Grande, OR 97850-2535

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 624-2400

(541) 624-2402

1211 Washington Avenue
La Grande, OR 97850-2535

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 308-0300

(541) 308-0037

600 East Port Marina Drive Suite C
Hood River, OR 97031

DISTRICT OFFICE

(541) 308-0300

(541) 308-0037

600 East Port Marina Drive Suite C
Hood River, OR 97031

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

1504 Sherman Avenue
Hood River, OR 97031-1456

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(541) 387-4820

1504 Sherman Avenue
Hood River, OR 97031-1456

Staff Leadership Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Riley Bushue
Southern Oregon Office Director

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Appropriations

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Arts

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Banking

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Commerce

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Communication

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Consumers

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Crime

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Education

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Energy

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Nick Strader
Office Director, Central Oregon

Environment

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Family

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Finance

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Andrew Malcolm
Deputy Chief of Staff; Communications Director

Govt Ops

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Health

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Homeland Security

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Housing

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Riley Bushue
Southern Oregon Office Director

Internet

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Judiciary

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Labor

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Nick Strader
Office Director, Central Oregon

Medicare

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Military

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Native Americans

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Seniors

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Tax

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Telecommunications

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Trade

Ray Baum
Senior Policy Advisor

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Kirby Garrett
Legislative Assistant

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Veterans

Troy Ferguson
Senior Field Representative

Welfare

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Women

Kristen Shatynski
Health Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Greg Walden
Votes: 228,043
Percent: 68.73%
Joyce Segers
Votes: 96,741
Percent: 29.16%
2012 PRIMARY
Greg Walden
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Greg Walden
Votes: 206,245
Percent: 73.91%
Joyce Segers
Votes: 72,173
Percent: 25.87%
2010 PRIMARY
Greg Walden
Votes: 74,970
Percent: 98.92%
2008 GENERAL
Greg Walden
Votes: 236,560
Percent: 69.5%
Noah Lemas
Votes: 87,649
Percent: 25.75%
2008 PRIMARY
Greg Walden
Votes: 83,087
Percent: 99.14%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (74%), 2008 (70%), 2006 (67%), 2004 (72%), 2002 (72%), 2000 (74%), 1998 (61%)

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