OFF PAGE ONE WALDEN: Helped grow the House GOP majority Page 8A East Oregonian Continued from 1A health care bill through the House in May. Within hours, he was at a victory party in the White House, where he told Trump that it “has been an honor to work with you hand-in-hand to get this bill to this point.” Within weeks, however, Trump said in a private meeting with senators that he found the House bill “mean” as criticism continued to mount that the bill would cause millions to lose health coverage. “He called it mean and harsh,” Walden recalled sardonically in an OPB interview late in the year in his Capitol Hill office. “It was not appreciated … I conveyed my displeasure to the White House.” Still, Walden didn’t let the direct jab at his handiwork damage his relationship with Trump. Instead, he swallowed any doubts and joined with other House GOP leaders throughout the year in trying to accommodate the new president. Walden shook his head at the idea he should publicly take on the president. Oregon may lean Democratic, but not for him. “Well, it’s simple,” he said. “The American voters — including 19 or 20 coun- ties in my district — had just elected President Trump.” He added: “My job is to get things done for the second district of Oregon, first, and for the country. And, I’m more valuable in doing that if I have a good, strong, thoughtful relation- ship with the president of the United States.” The second district Ironically, Walden’s home in Hood River is in a county that is turning Democratic. He only won the county by five votes in 2016. But it’s a microcosm of how he’s long worked across party lines in a state that leans Democratic. In his OPB interview, Walden stressed how often he had been able to work with Democrats on the energy and commerce committee. He noted that he’s moved forward bills to spur the development of autonomous vehicles, modernize the Food and Drug Administration and improve drinking water laws with bipartisan support. He’s also tackled issues of particular interest to his district, including a bill to spur hydropower development and to once again designate a site in Nevada as the primary repository for nuclear waste storage. The latter is a big issue in communities across the Columbia River near the Hanford Nuclear Reserva- tion, which has major nuclear waste issues. New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, the ranking Demo- crat on the Energy and Commerce committee, said he has indeed often been able to work with Walden — but that comes with a big caveat. “Greg is a very easy guy to work with and I think he tries to be bipartisan,” Pallone said. “I think the problem is that the president and the White House lead- ership get in the way and he toes the line.” Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Cali- fornia, said she’s built a strong friendship with Walden. They’ve worked together for years on a telecommunica- tions subcommittee. “Being a sensible person, he doesn’t like to approach things ideologically, he really doesn’t,” Eshoo said. But she noted that Republicans keep a close leash on their committee chairs. Health care has become a sensitive issue for Walden. Oregon aggressively expanded its Medicaid coverage under the Afford- able Care Act, and more than a quarter of the people in his district are covered by the federal-state program. Walden said he fought with hardliners in the Repub- lican caucus. “We had people who wanted to cut off by the end of the year, the expanded population, period,” he said, “and I wasn’t going to let that happen.” The Trump Question Walden has always been an enthusiastic player in the sport of politics. He once served as the Oregon House majority leader — the top person in charge of the party caucus — and he’s been closely involved in Republican congressional campaigns. Sessions, the Texas congressman, roped Walden into serving two terms as his deputy when Sessions ran the National Republican Congressional Committee, which oversees House GOP campaigns. In the 2014 and 2016 cycles, Walden took over the chairmanship. He said he spent 285 nights on the road during that four-year period, campaigning for GOP candidates. Walden helped grow the House GOP majority to a modern-day high in 2014 and largely preserved it in 2016. On the day after Trump’s election, he sounded like a winning football coach. “I don’t know how to say it, but we kicked their tails last night,” he said. “And we did it knowingly, willfully, thoughtfully and with a lot of planning.” Democrats think they can use anger at Trump to retake the House. But Walden’s heavily Republican district isn’t on their ambitious 91-seat target list. His powerful chair- manship helped him raise $2.5 million in campaign donations in the first nine months of 2017. That’s more than the four other members of the Oregon House dele- gation combined. His top contributors include a who’s who of interests before his committee: The National Association of Broadcasters, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Comcast and Valero Energy, according to the website Open Secrets. And if body language tells you anything, Walden’s developed a nice relation- ship with the president. In an October ceremony at the White House, Trump entered the room and reached across another official to shake Walden’s hands and exchange a few words. Wednesday, January 3, 2018 WEATHER: Hull arrived at Pendleton in 1998 Continued from 1A a refrigerator up in a tree. If we’d had Doppler radar sooner, we could have saved some people.” These days, though the weather is more severe, the number of weather-related fatalities has dropped, he said. “We’re able to get the information out there sooner so people can prepare,” he said. Hull, who grew up on a Montana farm, got inter- ested in weather during his boyhood because it played such a big role in farming. He remembers giving daily weather briefings to his high school French teacher. In college, he first studied electrical engineering, but switched to meteorology after being fascinated by an intro-to-meteorology class. Hull arrived at Pendleton in 1998. Most recently, Hull served as warning coordinator meteorologist, interacting with storm spot- ters, the media, emergency management officials and others. He also made presen- tations at local schools and outdoor schools. Because of his outreach, people often recognize him on the street and engage him about the weather. Hull said that weather forecasting, despite the avalanche of data, remains a bit of an art. There is beautiful drama and unpredictability in the weather, Hull said. As an example he compared data transmitted from a weather station located at the Pend- leton NWS headquarters to information generated from another station half a mile away on a runway at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport. On some days, cool air pools on the runway while the air is warmer only half a mile away at the NWS office. “There may be a five-de- gree difference in half a mile,” Hull said, “and we’re making a forecast for thousands of square miles.” Mother Nature’s power never fails to awe Hull. When stationed in Salt Lake City in the late 1980s, he watched air roll off the desert and pick up moisture as it blew across the lake. “Then, bang, it was a full- blown storm when it hit the mountains,” he said. Hull said he will miss camaraderie and collabora- tion with his colleagues and public partners, but welcomes the next chapter. He plans to continue his role as a part-time school bus driver for the Mid Columbia Bus Company. In the summertime, he aims to get outdoors for a full slate of gardening, hiking and biking, and more time with his wife, Mary. Hull will continue to pay attention to the weather because it is interesting. He doesn’t have a favorite weather condition, though he admitted disliking fog and dust storms. The mete- orologist doesn’t believe in wasting time complaining about the weather. “It is what it is,” he said. MORE WINNERS. MORE OFTEN. GRAND PRIZE DRAWING Sunday, January 28 WIN $ 400 FREEPLAY! Random hot seat winners every 30 minutes! Plus, your neighbors to left and right each get $ 80 FreePlay! Martin Luther King Day l January 15 l 4–8pm Earn 100 Lucky 8 entries with buy-in and four Big Game Grand Prize entries when you BINGO! SUNDAY, JANUARY 14 Doors open: 11am • Main Session: 2:30pm LAST MONTH TO EARN ENTRIES FOR A TRIP TO THE 2019 BIG GAME IN ATLANTA! ® CASINO • HOTEL • GOLF • CINEPLEX • RV • MUSEUM • DINING • TRAVEL PLAZA 800.654.9453 • PENDLETON, OR • I-84, EXIT 216, wildhorseresort.com. Owned and operated by CTUIR Management reserves all rights to alter, suspend or withdraw promotions/offers at any time.