Gregory Paul Walden (born January 10, 1957) is the U.S. Representative for Oregon's 2nd congressional district, serving since 1999. He is a member of the Republican Party.
The district covers more than two-thirds of the state (generally, east of the Cascades). He is the son of Paul E. Walden, three-term Oregon state representative.
Early life, education and career
Walden earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Oregon in 1981. Before being elected to Congress, Walden owned and ran radio stations.
Walden served as Press Secretary and Chief of Staff to Congressman Denny Smith from 1981 to 1987.
He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1988 and served in the House until 1995, when he was appointed to the Oregon State Senate to fill a vacancy. Walden rose to the position of assistant majority leader in the Senate and was considering a bid for Oregon Governor in 1994. However, upon discovering that the son he and his wife were expecting had a heart defect, Walden decided to not run for Governor and to not seek re-election to the state Senate. Their son died soon after birth.
In 1996, Walden announced he was running for the 2nd District as an independent. The district's freshman Republican incumbent, Wes Cooley, whose 1994 campaign Walden had managed, had been caught in several lies about his military service.
Cooley's reelection chances were already in serious jeopardy, but it was generally believed that an independent bid by Walden would allow the Democrats to sneak up the middle and win a seat they hadn't held since 1981. Ultimately, the Republicans persuaded Cooley's predecessor, Robert F. Smith, to come out of retirement.
Smith didn't run for reelection in 1998, and endorsed Walden as his successor. Walden easily won the Republican primary and breezed to election in November and has been reelected five times. Though his district contains some liberal-leaning communities such as Ashland, most of the district leans heavily Republican, and Walden has always been reelected easily.
In 2002, he defeated Democrat Peter Buckley, who later became a member of the Oregon House of Representatives. In 2006, Walden defeated Democratic candidate Carol Voisin, and in 2008 he won a sixth term with 70% of the vote over Democrat Noah Lemas and Pacific Green Tristin Mock. Following the defeat of Senator Gordon Smith in the 2008 elections, Walden became the only Republican to represent Oregon in the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
From 2010 to 2011, Walden gave up his seat on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, at Republican leadership request so that Parker Griffith, who had recently switched parties, could take his spot on that committee.
Walden founded the Small Brewers Caucus (see Alcohol in Oregon) and the Digital Television Caucus; as of 2007, he was a member of 39 congressional caucuses:
Walden is also a member of the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership.
Walden and his wife, Mylene, live in Hood River with their son Anthony. They are members of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and participate in local civic groups such as the Rotary Cl
ub and the Chamber of Commerce.
On October 20, 2009, it was reported that Walden was the first Member of Congress to contract the H1N1-A (Swine Flu) Virus.
January 23rd, 2012