Greg Walden Discusses Issues Raised at 13 Town Halls
Click here or above to watch Walden’s entire interview.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Last weekend, Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) appeared on KATU’s “Your Voice, Your Vote.”
Walden, who had just finished a 13 town hall tour across the vast Second District, discussed what he heard about most while on the road. He said preparing for fire season and forest management was one of the top issues raised.
“Fire season is approaching, that is a big issue and topic especially in the rural parts of our state,” said Walden. “Here in Cascade Locks, we know the devastation from the Gorge fire and what it meant. So people are concerned about what fire season we may face, and what we can do to reduce the fuel loads, get the fires down."
He went on to discuss what he plans to do to improve forest management in Oregon. Walden's plan includes his recently introduced bill, the Resilient Federal Forest Act, which would take critically needed steps to ensure that both forests and communities are protected and prepared for fire season.
"We need to expand that authority across all our forests, and then after the fires we need to get that fuel load out, the burned dead trees," said Walden. "When you drive over the Santiam and you see now they are pretty much fallen over, but most other forest managers: private, state, tribal, and county, go in after a fire, remove the burned, dead trees while they have value, and plant a new forest for the next generation. The federal forest lands, they just can’t get around to getting it done in time, we need to change that."
Walden also spoke about how many people at the town halls brought up the humanitarian crisis on the border.
“It’s a humanitarian crisis, we are getting overwhelmed," said Walden." I’m deeply disturbed about the IG’s report about the conditions there. I led a bipartisan group of members of Congress down to the border last July. We saw the facilities and they were at capacity then, and then we have had these huge waves come over."
Walden continued on about the crisis, "We need to know exactly what’s happening there, and we should not tolerate some of the problems that have been identified by the Inspector General. I’ve seen the top lines on his report about the overcrowding, about people who don’t have access to showers, all these things -- and that’s not what we are about."
He went on to note that people who are working at the border are trying their best to manage the unprecedented number of people arriving there and how the President has asked for Congress to authorize additional aid. Earlier this month, Congress passed the $4.8 billion bipartisan aid package the President requested. Walden was the only member of the Oregon delegation to vote for this aid.
Walden concluded by explaining what the aid provides, "These resources are exactly what the Democrats are complaining is the problem and that’s access to food, medicine, and better services. That’s what this pays for."
Following this interview and his 13 town halls, Walden traveled to the border on a fact-finding mission. You can learn more about his trip here.
You can watch the entire interview here.