US Representative Greg Walden is the new House Republican leadership chairman, making him one of the top GOP leaders in that legislative body.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden is the new House Republican leadership chairman, making him one of the top GOP leaders in that legislative body.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Walden's appointment on Thursday.

"Greg Walden is a proven leader and a champion for smaller, more accountable government," Boehner said in a prepared statement. "We need him at the leadership table as we enter this critical year for our country."

A Hood River resident who has served Oregon's 2nd Congressional District since 1998, Walden, 53, will meet weekly with the top dozen GOP House leaders to discuss issues and strategy. There are 177 Republican representatives in the House, which has 435 members.

"I am humbled by Leader Boehner's trust to serve in this leadership capacity," Walden said. "Having been a small business owner through both good times and bad, I look forward to using that experience at the leadership table to help continue to push the Republican case for common-sense policies that create more jobs, not bigger government and more reckless spending.

"The American people expect Republicans to develop sound policy alternatives, and I am eager to help contribute to the good work already being done in that area."

Walden will direct key projects such as the House GOP Congressional Transparency Initiative, a reform project that backers say will make the House more open and accountable. Walden also will continue to serve as a deputy whip and deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

He will be on temporary leave from his seat on the House Energy & Commerce Committee but will retain his full seniority on that panel.

"This means a step up in responsibility," said Andrew Whelan, Walden's press secretary. "But it's also good news for Oregon to have a member at the GOP leadership table. That means he will be in an even stronger position to advocate for the state's priorities."

In addition to Boehner and Walden, other movers and shakers of the House leadership group include Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., former Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Pete Session, R-Texas, the NRCC chairman.

A graduate of the University of Oregon School of Journalism, Walden and his wife owned and operated radio stations in the Columbia River Gorge region in Oregon for more than 21 years. He served in both the Oregon House and Senate before being elected to Congress.

The 2nd Congressional District includes all of Eastern Oregon, Jackson County and the eastern portion of Grants Pass.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.