Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) was added to the House Republican leadership team on Thursday when he was chosen to become chairman of the House GOP Leadership.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) tapped Walden, a six-term congressman from eastern Oregon, to fill the position, which has been vacant since 2005.

"Greg Walden is a proven leader and a champion for smaller, more accountable government," Boehner said in a statement. "We need him at the leadership table as we enter this critical year for our country, and I deeply appreciate his willingness to serve as our leadership chairman."

Walden's ascension clears the way for Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Parker Griffith (Ala.) to join the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which Walden serves, but from which he will take a leave of absence.

The position of GOP Leadership chairman was first created when Republicans won the House in the 1994 elections. Former congressmen to hold the position include Reps. Bob Walker (R-Pa.), Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The position was not filled after Portman left Congress to become U.S. Trade Representative for President George W. Bush.

According to Boehner's office, Walden will be charged with directing some key projects, including one to make the House "more open and accountable to the American people." Walden will also serve as a deputy whip, a position he's already held, and as a deputy chairman of House Republicans' campaign committee.

"I am humbled by Leader Boehner’s trust to serve in this leadership capacity,” Rep. Walden said in a statement. "The American people expect Republicans to develop sound policy alternatives, and I am eager to help contribute to the good work already being done in that area.”