Thursday, President Joseph R. Biden designated FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as Acting Chairwoman of the Commission. Rosenworcel is only the second woman to lead the FCC, following Mignon Clyburn’s stint as Acting Chair from May to November of 2013. The action was expected, as Rosenworcel is the senior Democratic Commissioner at the agency.
“I am honored to be designated as the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission by President Biden. I thank the President for the opportunity to lead an agency with such a vital mission and talented staff,” said Rosenworcel. “It is a privilege to serve the American people and work on their behalf to expand the reach of communications opportunity in the digital age.”
“In her time at the Commission, Rosenworcel has worked to promote greater opportunity, accessibility, and affordability in our communications services in order to ensure that all Americans get a fair shot at 21st century success,” the agency noted in her announcement. “From fighting to protect net neutrality to ensuring access to the internet for students caught in the Homework Gap, she has been a consistent champion for connecting all,” according to the FCC. Her bio calls her a leader in spectrum policy, developing new ways to support wireless services from WiFi to video and the Internet of Things.
Prior to joining the FCC, she was Senior Communications Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, under the leadership of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-NY) and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI). Before entering public service, Rosenworcel practiced communications law in Washington, D.C.
Congratulations poured in. Colleague and fellow Democrat Commissioner Geoffrey Starks tweeted: “For many years, Jessica has been a passionate advocate for bringing the benefits of broadband to all Americans—particularly our children. Her designation comes at a critical juncture for the Commission, as COVID-19 has made bold action to end internet inequality more vital than ever. I look forward to working with her to close the digital divide and on the wide range of pressing issues facing the Commission.”
Colleague Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a statement: “She is a talented and dedicated public servant, as evidenced by her eight years of distinguished service on the FCC. I have enjoyed our time serving together at the agency, and I look forward to working with her.”
Former Chair Ajit Pai also offered his congratulations, “While we did not always agree on policy matters, I always valued our shared commitment to public service,” he said in a tweet. “Serving the American people is a tremendous honor and I wish her the best in the future.”
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief