Congressional Champion of Amateur Radio Greg Walden, W7EQI, Announces Retirement

ARRL

One of amateur radio’s strongest supporters in the US House of Representatives, Oregon Republican Greg Walden, W7EQI — the top Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee — said this week that he won’t be seeking another term in 2020. Walden, 62, who will have served for 22 years the US House at the end of his current term, championed the Amateur Radio Parity Act as the chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. He went on to chair the US House Energy and Commerce Committee in the 115th Congress, and has served as the panel’s ranking member since the Democratic Party gained control of the House.

“I will close the public service chapter of my life, thankful for the friends I’ve made and the successful work we’ve done together,” Walden said in a statement.

In 2014, The ARRL Board of Directors voted to confer the first Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award “in recognition of many years of exceptional contributions to the strength and vitality of the Amateur Radio Service in the United States.”

In 2002 Walden was an original cosponsor of H.R. 4720, the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act, which aimed to provide relief to amateurs faced with private deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions — CC&Rs in erecting antennas by requiring private land-use regulators, such as homeowners’ associations, to “reasonably accommodate” amateur radio communication

In 2003 he cosponsored H.R. 713, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act, and during a hearing on the bill, Walden called for a halt to the “astonishing” erosion of amateur radio spectrum.

In 2004, Walden wrote the FCC chairman, seeking to have the Commission defer action on the Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) rulemaking until the release of an NTIA study and an opportunity for public comment. That same year, during a hearing on telecom convergence, Walden grilled a BPL industry representative about interference.

In 2010, Walden cosponsored H.R. 2160, the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act — a subsequent bill addressing the issue of private land-use constraints on amateur radio antennas.

In 2011, ARRL was invited to testify before Walden’s subcommittee on “Creating an Interoperable Public Safety Network,” offering an opportunity to defend 420 – 440 MHz against reallocation.

During a 2016 Capitol Hill hearing, Walden called the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) “a commonsense bill” and urged his colleagues to support it.

“As a ham radio operator, I’m acutely aware of the passion that amateur radio operators have for their service,” Walden told the subcommittee. “Despite its widespread use and importance in times of emergencies, land-use restrictions in some areas have prioritized esthetics over the rights of hams. H.R. 1301 seeks to ensure that amateur radio operators get a fair shake and protection from unnecessary bans on their equipment by instructing the FCC to adopt rules to this end.”

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