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U.S. Representative Greg Walden, representing the 2nd district in Oregon

11/9/2010

Dear (KBC),
 

Another week, another Duck victory! Knock on wood that they can keep their amazing play goingÖ

Leading the majority transition in the House

House Republican Leader (and the presumptive next Speaker) John Boehner asked me last Tuesday night to lead the ďMajority Transition TeamĒ comprised of 22 members that is charged with restoring the House of Representatives as a great deliberative body that reflects the will of the American people.

Iím as fed up as you are with all the secret deal-making done behind closed doors. Iíve written many times before in this newsletter about the ridiculous 2,000-page, trillion-dollar bills that nobody gets a chance to read before a vote.

As the leader of the Majority Transition Team, I am now in the incredibly unique position to help make Congress more accountable and transparent to the public and the press. This isn't just "Washington Speak."  We are opening up the process so every American can be represented and have a voice in legislating.  We need more public scrutiny, which will lead to better legislation. We are changing House rules related to spending, because they put spending on auto drive. We are requiring at least three days to wait because Americans are sick of politicians sneaking in provisions that get no scrutiny before they are rushed to a vote.

Our team will rewrite the rules that govern how the House of Representatives operates, with the goal to make Congress more responsive , transparent and accountable and closer to the American people than ever before.

And I know we can reform Congress to make it more efficient. As a small business owner for nearly 22 years with my wife, I looked every day for new ways to improve operations and gain cost savings and efficiencies. Our team will apply that same philosophy to Congress and the rest of the federal government.

The work is under way in earnest. We had the transition office up and running by 10:30 am on Wednesday, Nov. 3. If you have ideas you'd like to contribute you can do so at www.GOPLeader.gov/NewMajority.

While these new responsibilities will keep me busy, I'm keeping up my active schedule in Oregon, too. Iíll be in southern Oregon on Thursday to participate in Veteranís Day observances at several public events and memorials Ė at the Fallen War Heroes Memorial in Central Point, at the SORCC in White City, at Southern Oregon University, and at the Veterans Memorial Park in Medford.

VA centers in southern Oregon continuing their outstanding service

Speaking of the SORCC, my staff was on hand for an announcement there that the center is proceeding with a project that will provide additional services for veterans and their families experiencing homelessness and veterans at risk for homelessness.

I was proud to be deeply involved in helping convince the VA to reverse course in 2006 and keep the SORCC open and invest in it for the long term. As Iíve told you before, the SORCC in White City continues to be a leader in the VA system, and I know how important it is for our southern Oregon veterans.

My staff was also on hand for a celebration in Klamath Falls marking the ten-year anniversary of the VA clinic there. In the most recent patient satisfaction survey, the Klamath Falls Clinic was the highest scoring clinic in the Northwest network.

Our veterans deserve the very best we can provide; we owe them a debt for their service that we can never repay. Iíll continue working in a bipartisan way with the entire Oregon delegation to make sure we keep our promise to give them the best when they come home.

Stopping job-killing federal regulations

On Monday, Ash Grove filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administrationís new regulation that, if enforced, would effectively force their plant in Durkee, Oregon, to close its doors. Yet another job-killing rule from the Environmental Protection Administration.

Itís really unfortunate that a company that contributes the largest share of the tax base in Baker County and provides 116, good paying, direct jobs in rural Oregon needs to take this kind of a stand against the administrationís EPA, especially when the government professes to be in favor of supporting and creating new jobs.

This is a company that has already spent $20 million to install the most ground-breaking emission control equipment anywhere in the country to let them operate under the current provisions of the Clean Air Act.

This defies common sense. These are the kinds of job-killing federal regulations that demand much closer scrutiny and oversight from Congress.

That includes regulations that would threaten to shut down 55,000 boilers across the country, costing the manufacturing industry $20 billion to $50 billion during one of the worst recessions in the countryís history.

Another new proposal from the EPA would equate renewable biomass with coal when it comes to counting emissions ó that would have a devastating impact on a promising industry for Oregon. I know that proposal has grabbed the attention of economic development groups around the Second District.

We need JOBS right now, not unnecessary regulation. Itís high time for more oversight and scrutiny when it comes to job-killing federal regulations, and Iím confident that will start in 2011.

Wallowa Loop Road repaired to gravel by Nov. 15

You may recall that the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (National Forest Road 39) washed out in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest from torrential flooding this spring. I got a first-hand look at the damage to the road and to farms and other facilities when I toured the flood damaged area a few days later.  The good news is that this important road will reopen--with this section as a gravel road--within the next week. Thatís very good news for the local economies that depend on the tourism dollars that come in from folks traveling on the road between Wallowa, Union, and Baker counties.

Thanks again to the people who work at the US Forest Service who participated in our town hall meeting at the Grange Hall in Richland and who responded quickly along with the Federal Highway Administration to the calls from myself and the local communities to reopen the road as soon as possible after the flood.

Nosler rebuilds

In my most recent visit to central Oregon on Nov. 1 (it was my 16th visit to Deschutes County this year), Bob Nosler was kind enough to give me a quick tour of his rebuilt rifle and bullet manufacturing facility in Bend. You may have heard about the fire earlier this year that threatened their production Ė thankfully nobody was hurt. This is a great company that provides a lot of good jobs in central Oregon, so it was great to see their operation up and running.

These are the kinds of American-based manufacturing jobs that are so important to our countryís economic recovery. It is vital that we provide certainty to business owners so they can plan for future growth --- that includes freezing taxes exactly where they are during the upcoming lame duck session.

New medical center in Grants Pass

My staff attended the groundbreaking of the new Gilbert Park Medical Center in Grants Pass. An enthusiastic crowd of nearly 50 was on hand to witness the beginning of construction on a facility that will provide much-needed medical services.

A key mover in the project is Dr. David Oehling, a vascular surgeon who came to Grants Pass 35 years ago when there were only 15 doctors. Today there are 120 physicians and surgeons, and he sees a bright future ahead.

Thatís all for now.

Be sure to thank a veteran for his or her sacrifice this Thursday.  And let's keep all of our men and women in uniform and their families in our thoughts and prayers.  We owe our security and freedom to them. THANK YOU! 

Best regards,
Greg Walden
U.S. Representative, Oregonís Second District

 
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              Page Updated: Wednesday November 10, 2010 01:51 AM  Pacific


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