It's Official: Walden Tops House E&C

WASHINGTON — Congratulations continued to flow in Friday (Dec. 2) for the election of Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) Friday to be the new chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce  Committee.

Walden has been chair of the Communications Subcommittee. His successor to that post won't be picked until January, he signaled this week. He was tapped by the steering committee for the post on Thursday evening (Dec. 1), with the Republican conference following suit Friday.

"Chairman Walden is a thoughtful policymaker with extensive experience and deep knowledge of issues surrounding telecommunications, technology and other important sectors of the U.S. economy," Michael Powell, president and CEO of NCTA: The Internet & Television Association, said. “We look forward to working Chairman Walden and the full Committee on a productive agenda that encourages private capital investment, supports ongoing innovation and promotes the growth of our national economy.” 

Steven J. Berry, president of the Competitive Carriers Association, said: “The House Energy & Commerce Committee plays a key role in helping ensure competitive carriers are able to compete and thrive in the industry, and chairman Walden understands the importance of mobile broadband, especially in rural areas.” Walden represents a largely rural district.

"His understanding of the Universal Service Fund [broadband subsidy program] and role in crafting the legislation leading to the 600 MHz [broadcast] incentive auction will be an asset to the Committee and to Congress. With many important policy issues in play, it no doubt will be a busy 115th Congress, and I look forward to our continued work on these issues and more, and again congratulate Rep. Walden on the chairmanship.”

USTelecom president Walter McCormick said: “We congratulate Congressman Walden on being selected as the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His vast experience and understanding of issues to come before the committee, including telecommunications and technology policies, will be a tremendous asset for the committee. USTelecom looks forward to working with him to promote policies that will encourage investment, innovation and expansion of broadband access to all Americans.”

Verizon Communications senior vice president Kathy Grillo said: “Over the years, Chairman Walden has been an engaged and consistent leader in the telecommunications and technology sectors. We believe his vast experience, strong work ethic and proactive agenda will be a true asset as our sector continues to be a driving force in innovation and economic opportunity.”

“We were pleased to present Congressman Walden with our Champion of Public Broadcasting award in 2013, and we are grateful for his continuing support of our public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership," said America's Public Television Stations president Patrick Butler. "Chairman Walden has been a voice of reason on telecommunications issues for many years, and we are delighted that he will now hold the gavel for one of the most influential committees of the Congress.

“In addition, Congressman Walden is universally regarded as one of the finest legislators in Washington," Butler said.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.