05.01.2009 03:02 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
New Democrat nominated to FCC

President Obama has nominated Mignon Clyburn as a commissioner to the FCC to fill one of two currently vacant Democrat seats on the commission, replacing departed Republican Kevin Martin.

The nomination could put pressure on Senate Republicans to pick a nominee to fill an empty Republican seat on the FCC board, according to the “Wall Street Journal,” with Ajit Pai, a former Capitol Hill staffer and deputy general counsel at the FCC, and Lee Carosi Dunn, a long-time staffer to Arizona Sen. John McCain, as possible candidates.

Clyburn, the oldest daughter of House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, has been a member of the South Carolina Public Service Commission since 1998, where she helped regulate the state's investor-owned public utilities, including telecommunications service providers, according to the White House.

Before her election to the Public Service Commission, she spent 14 years as publisher and general manager of “The Coastal Times,” a weekly newspaper in Charleston.

Clyburn would join Julius Genachowski, nominated by the president earlier this year to be the new Chairman of the FCC, as Democrats. However, Genachowski's nomination remains on hold in the Senate. Republican senators want to include a Republican nominee on the commission, but have yet to name one. This has frustrated some Senate Democrats, who want the agency to begin working on a national broadband plan and oversight of the transition to digital television in mid-June.

In a statement, NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr said Clyburn’s experience as a former newspaper publisher will serve her well as she addresses media-related issues at the FCC.

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