The buzz around Washington Monday--according to two sources--was that long-time legislator Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) was planning to announce his retirement from Congress after the current session, feeling he had done about as much as he was going to do in that post and preparing for "a new chapter."
He is ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and former chairman of the full Committee, as well as the Communications Subcommittee that oversees broadcasting, cable and satellite issues.
He was instrumental in drafting the broadcast incentive auction legislation that freed up spectrum for 5G, always with an eye toward protecting incumbent broadcaster signals post-transition, and funding their move.
If another former legislator, Sen. Gordon Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, ever decided to start a new chapter, Walden, would be one of the first names mentioned if Walden were, indeed, to leave the House next year.
Walden is a former broadcaster who has pointed out he is probably the only member of Congress who has had to personally switch out a transmitter. He is also licensed amateur radio operator.
Walden has been a backer of broadcast and cable deregulation, including the current FCC's deregulation of cable internet access.
He is also a big fan of rural broadband buildouts given that he comes from a heavily rural district.
Earlier this year, Walden was cited by the Consumer Technology Association for helping smooth the digital TV transition and fighting hard for the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act ban on local and state taxes on internet access, as well as for his work on the RAY BAUMS Act, the first FCC reauthorization bill in 28 years. It was named after the late Energy & Commerce staff director and longtime Walden friend and colleague, who died last year.
He is also among a bipartisan chorus calling for serious consideration of breaking up, or at least shaking up, edge providers.
Walden has been in the House since 1998. Before that he was a member of the Oregon House and Senate.
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