Committee Considers New FCC Commissioner

The Senate Commerce Committee this week held a confirmation hearing for Geoffrey Starks, who has been nominated to take the Democrat seat on the FCC recently vacated by Mignon Clyburn. Starks is currently an assistant bureau chief of the agency’s Enforcement Bureau, and he previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to highlighting broadband accessibility and telemedicine opportunities, Starks noted his particular public interest concerns. He declared:

In my government work, I have always focused on giving a voice to the most vulnerable in our society. This readily extends to the FCC. Consumers look to our regulators for protection – whether it’s the scourge of robocalls, or protecting their privacy and the values of localism and diversity in our national media. Ultimately, I will be laser focused on serving the public interest and protecting consumers in this era of remarkable technological change. I believe this can and must be done in a manner that puts consumers first, but is also cognizant of the impact that regulation can have on competition and innovation if not properly implemented.

Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) took time in the hearing to laud FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to improve processes and transparency at the agency. “It is my hope that this spirit of openness, transparency, and collaboration at the FCC is continued, and it is my hope that Mr. Starks will embrace this approach if confirmed,” said Thune. He also urged Starks, a Kansan like Pai, to seek bipartisan compromise in a move to end “the hyper-partisanship of the last Commission.”

Thune has scheduled a confirmation vote for Starks in the committee next Wednesday.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: June 22, 2018

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