U.S. Rep. Greg Walden has been named the chairman of the House subcommittee that will oversee communications and technology policy in the 112thCongress.
He will chair the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, one of six panels underneath the full Energy and Commerce Committee. The subcommittee's jurisdiction includes oversight of the Federal Communications Commission and telecommunications policy spanning the Internet, broadcast, radio, wire, and satellite.
What it means for Oregon
Communications and technology related industries support nearly 10,000 jobs in Oregon's Second District, and more than 50,000 statewide.
"As we've seen from the establishment of Google in The Dalles, the new Facebook project in Prineville, the first cell tower in Fossil, and a long list of other projects in the state, communications and technology play a critical role in the economy and quality of life in rural Oregon," Rep. Walden said.
"These are industries that play a major role in the health of the state's economy and, with the correct policies in place, hold promise for private sector growth and new jobs for Oregonians," Rep. Walden said. "The challenge of delivering high-speed Internet, broadband, and technological capabilities to communities and schools all across rural America and Oregon will be handled in this subcommittee."
"Billions of dollars have been allocated to expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas across the country," Rep. Walden said. "With that much money going out so quickly, taxpayers need to know how it's being spent and what they're getting for it. We will conduct oversight on those expenditures and will also review the existing regulatory policies and new regulations under consideration by various agencies."
Rep. Walden's knowledge of communications issues and their impact on the economy is deeply rooted in his experience as a small business owner; he and his wife owned and operated a group of local radio stations in Hood River and The Dalles for nearly 22 years. (He is also one of two licensed amateur radio operators in Congress.)
He broke the news about his new appointment via a Twitter message in morse code.
Transparency also a focus
As the chairman of the House GOP Transition Team, he is implementing reforms to make the House of Representatives more transparent, accountable, and efficient. He says federal agencies should operate under the same principles, and that will continue to be a focus of his as chairman of the communications and technology subcommittee.
"After all, it is the public's business, it's the taxpayers' money, and they should have the right to participate in the process," Rep. Walden said.
Rep. Walden will continue to serve as chairman of the House Republican Leadership.
Representative Greg Walden is the chairman of the House Republican Leadership and represents Oregon's Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and central Oregon.