The mayors of five Oregon cities united to nominate Congressman Greg Walden, R-Ore., for the 2011 Mark O. Hatfield Statesmanship award. Walden accepted the award this month at the League of Oregon Cities annual conference.
The Dalles Mayor Jim Wilcox led mayors from Prineville, Madras, Redmond and Medford, and two other organizations, in submitting Walden's successful nomination, citing his similarities to Hatfield "in advancing the quality of life for Oregon citizens."
Recipients of the award, only five of which have been presented since 1996, "must be held in high esteem by the public due to their unselfish devotion to the call of public service," according to the LOC guidelines.
Elected to Congress in 1998, Walden has been chair of the House Republican Leadership and Deputy Whip since 2010. He served as a member of the Oregon Legislature from 1989-96, serving the last four years as House Minority Leader.
"Congressman Walden is known for his continuous support of legislation that supports job growth," said LOC Executive Director Mike McCauley. "His support of cities obtaining federal matching funds to build, repair and replace infrastructure has been unwavering."
Walden's articulated contributions were listed in the letters of support from local governments, including:
"Leading efforts to resolve water issues in the Lower Klamath River Basin; Pursuit of legislation and regulation to enhance economic vitality in rural areas; Championship of rural health care accessibility and affordability; Presiding over 'transparency in government' changes to House Rules."
Columbia Gorge Community College President Frank Toda's letter supporting Walden's nomination described him as "exemplifying the balanced perspective, professional decorum and political moderation espoused so eloquently, on so many occasions and under such varied circumstances, by Sen. Hatfield."
In an award ceremony on the other side of the country, Walden was recognized Sept. 16 by the National Religious Broadcasters organization with its Faith & Freedom Award.
"We are privileged to honor Congressman Greg Walden with this award," said NRB president Dr. Frank Wright. "With his background as a broadcaster in Oregon, he has stood strong in the House in the defense of liberty with his efforts to remove the Fairness Doctrine from the federal code."
The Fairness Doctrine, a policy of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission introduced in 1949, required the holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance, and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced.
The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented. The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints.
"The Fairness Doctrine is a relic of an earlier era when government officials thought they knew best what news and information the American people wanted and needed," said Walden in a joint statement with Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.
NRB annually presents the Faith & Freedom Award to "a stalwart defender of religious liberty" at its annual Capitol Hill Media Summit.
Past recipients of the NRB award include Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.