Congressman Greg Walden stopped in Warm Springs today (2/9/17) to meet with Tribal Council and Tribal Programs. The main focus of the meeting was to share information about the Tribes’ interest in ensuring that the Indian Health Care Improvement Act is protected. The Tribes’ status as payer of last resort for insurance claims was explained. Walden also heard about the positive impact Medicaid Expansion has had for the Warm Springs Community.
The focus on health care was followed by presentations on a number of issues including basic infrastructure needs in the campus area of the Reservation. Economic development, adjacent to Highway 26, is not possible at this time due to crumbling water and sewer systems that date back the 1930s.
Walden also engaged in conversations with Tribal officials about: the failing condition of the Warm Springs Jail facility; ongoing efforts to enact a land exchange bill in the Mt. Hood area; and Warm Springs Ventures’ careful compliance with U.S. Justice Department Cannabis rules.
Stops like the one in Warm Springs on Thursday are important says Walden, “It’s where I get my ‘to do list’. To come to meetings like this and listen. I know who I work for and it’s the people of this district. It helps inform our decisions on bigger public policy issues. It helps us intercede to be helpful with, like the BIA, on some of the issues that were raised today and then the longer range infrastructure improvement.“
Walden was first elected to represent Oregon’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998. The mostly rural district is the largest of Oregon’s five congressional districts, covering roughly two-thirds of the state.