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Walden Selected As House Energy And Commerce Committee Chair

<p>Oregon Rep. Greg Walden with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins on Jan. 6, 2016.</p>

J. Scott Applewhite

Oregon Rep. Greg Walden with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins on Jan. 6, 2016.

Oregon Congressman Greg Walden is taking over a powerful committee chairmanship that could give him a big role in the nation’s health care debate.

The Hood River Republican beat out two rivals seeking the helm of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Walden was selected in a closed-door meeting held by House GOP leaders Thursday.

The energy and commerce committee is expected to play a key role in Republican efforts to repeal President Obama’s health care law and replace it with something else.

Walden said in a statement that he would work with the incoming Trump administration and others on what he called “patient-centered health care.”

Several Capitol Hill publications reported that Walden won the position because of his success as chairman of the House Republican campaign committee.

Under Walden’s leadership, Republicans won the largest majority they’ve had since the 1920s. And they lost only a handful of those seats this year.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jeff Mapes is a senior political reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, Jeff covered state and national politics for The Oregonian for nearly 32 years. He has covered numerous presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and ballot measure campaigns, as well as many sessions of the Legislature, stretching back to 1985. Jeff graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in journalism.