Greg Walden expresses interest in E&C leadership role


Radio’s key Representative, Greg Walden (R-OR) has made it known that he would like to have a role in the leadership structure of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. He said he’s served and enjoyed working in a couple of subcommittees, but acknowledged that with his background, the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet holds a special attraction.

Walden is a candidate for Communications along with current ranking member Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and communications-savvy Lee Terry (R-NE). Incoming E&C chair Fred Upton has indicated he will confer with all of the candidates for subcommittee chairs and make his selections next week.

On the Democratic side of E&C, the Democratic Steering Committee has decided to stick with Henry Waxman (D-CA), who will of course be downgraded from chair to ranking member when the 112th Congress is seated in January.

Contenders for ranking member of Communications are Bobby Rush (D-IL), who just received the endorsement of the Congressional Black Caucus, Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). According to Hillicon Valley, the Democrats are in no rush to name a successor to outgoing Rick Boucher (D-VA).

For his part, Upton indicated that health care will be one of his top priorities. He said, “We face many challenges, but priority number one is to repeal the job-killing Obamacare law. While the various subcommittee posts will be filled in the days ahead, the fight to repeal Obamacare starts now and I am pleased to appoint Rep. Joe Pitts as chairman of Health Subcommittee. Together, we will protect the sanctity of life, ensuring early next Congress that no federal funds are used for abortion.”

Perhaps FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, among others, was put on notice when Upton said, The Obama administration is on notice – they will not be allowed to  regulate what they have been unable to legislate.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Broadcasters could not ask for a better steward of this key subcommittee. It’s not that things would be all that bad if the committee is under one of the other candidates, it’s just that Walden truly understands issues affecting broadcasters. There’s just no substitute for hands-on experience.