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C-Span video: Greg Walden on dealership closings

June 17, 2009

Oregon US Representative Greg Walden was on C-Span on the Congressional Hearings on auto dealership closings. Below is his opening statements.

PRESS RELEASE BELOW

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the top Republican on a House oversight and investigation subcommittee, will help lead a hearing tomorrow to probe the secretive decisions behind thousands of GM and Chrysler dealership closings across the country.

“If there is a sound business explanation for shuttering dealerships and leaving entire regions without service, taxpayers deserve to hear it. After all, taxpayers are now the principal investors in GM,” Walden said. “GM owners in Burns, for example, will now have to travel 136 miles to the nearest dealer in Payette, Idaho, for service. That’s the distance between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. How does that help GM’s sales and customer service in eastern Oregon?”

Bob Thomas, owner of Bob Thomas Chevrolet-Cadillac, has agreed to testify in front of the committee, at Walden’s invitation. He was notified in May that GM would end its dealer franchise agreement with his local dealership, which has been in business in Bend since 1916 and employs 65 people.

Dave Hamilton Chevrolet-Jeep of Redmond was also notified it was also losing its agreement with GM, which means GM owners in Bend would need to travel 40 miles to get to the nearest dealership, in Madras.
“The secrecy surrounding this government takeover is baffling,” Walden said. “Taxpayers are already in for a staggering $50 billion to save GM, but we can’t even get a basic explanation from the autonomous, unelected Auto Task Force about how they’re making their decisions to spend Americans’ hard-earned money.”

On May 21, Walden and a bipartisan group of 36 members sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for more transparency in the workings of the Auto Task Force.

Representative Greg Walden represents the Oregon’s Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and central Oregon. He is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

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Alice June 17, 2009

The way the dealerships were selected seems a bit suspect, however, the public never gets the whole story.

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