Greg Walden Talks Robocalls, Border Crisis, Wildfire Prevention

August 1, 2019
Press Release
Speaks on KEX's The Mark Mason Show

Click here or on the photo above to listen to Rep. Walden's full interview.


Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) recently spoke on KEX's The Mark Mason Show about his efforts to stop illegal robocalls, his recent trip to the southern border, and wildfire prevention.

Walden started out by speaking with Mark about the need to put an end to annoying robocalls.

"So, here’s a number for you: 47.8 billion," said Walden. "Here’s another number: in the 541-area code, which of course I care most about in Oregon, 11.5 million calls in June; all illegal robocalls."

He then explained that the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which passed the House in July, would tell phone companies to use their caller authentication ability to authenticate the numbers and block them if they aren't real. The phone companies would do this at no cost to the consumer while also allowing the consumer to opt out of the service should they choose.

Walden went on to discuss the dangers of illegal robocalls,"We had testimony from a cancer center in Florida that had gotten spoofed, where someone was using their number, and calling patients and doctors. And you can imagine Mark, if you’re in treatment, you’re going to take that call, you’re going to believe it’s the cancer center in Florida. And you’re going to give them whatever they need, your social security number, your credit card number, whatever it is, right? They were interfering with the doctors’ daily routines and they were scamming patients. And so were going after them, were going to shut them down, and this legislation will go a long way toward achieving that."

When asked about the humanitarian crisis at the border, Walden spoke about his efforts to combat the problem.

"I supported the funding to deal with the humanitarian crisis to provide for medical assistance, food, shelter -- especially for these unaccompanied minors and families. We’ve had an enormous surge. In about 8 years in the early 2000s we'd have between 5,000 and 8,000 unaccompanied minors per year across the border. We're now approaching 60,000 unaccompanied minors this year alone, Mark."

He went on to discuss his recent trip to the southern border and how he visited one of the newer facilities in Texas that was built to help handle the influx of people.

"Our facilities were never built to handle this kind of influx. We ramped up with temporary facilities, that’s what I visited in Texas. They had 206 kids when I was there. They all had their own bunks, they had a 1 to 12 ratio of staff to kids, they had full medical services, 3 square meals a day, plus access to snacks anytime."

Walden also spoke about wildfire season and the critical need to take action.

"These fires have become an enormous business, they are enormously expensive to taxpayers, they are deadly to people, and we shouldn’t have the worst air quality short of Beijing, literally, every summer.”

He then discussed what can be done to prevent these fires. First, he highlighted the need for partnership between local fire officials and the Office of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service.

Walden went on, "Second, we did pass some legislation in the Farm Bill that’s given our Forest Service and BLM new tools to manage the forests, but third we need to pass the forest resiliency bill (the Resilient Federal Forest Act) which would allow us to go in after the fires, clean up the mess, plant a new forest quicker."

He continued, "I really believe that it works well in private land, county land, state land, we go in quickly, tribal land, and cut the burned dead trees where appropriate, while they still have value, and then you replant. On federal forest land, it is just not happening. Roadside clear, hazard trees get taken out and then virtually the rest is left standing until it falls and then it burns again in the next fire and destroys the soils even more. So, there is more work, legislatively, I think we need to do, but we are making some progress.”

You can listen to the full interview here.