East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, January 03, 2018, Page Page 8A, Image 8

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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
“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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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,
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.
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