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FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will be stepping down from his post to head up the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The nomination was announced on the White House Web site this week. Adelstein's departure means the FCC now must fill two slots: Adelstein's (a Democrat) and Deborah Taylor Tate, a Republican commissioner who stepped down last year. Acting Chairman Michael Copps is expected to be replaced by Julius Genachowski, who was nominated for the top spot earlier this month.

Adelstein has been a Commissioner since 2002, and was confirmed to a second term in 2004. As RUS Administrator, he would be in charge of a program to develop rural broadband communications. The Agriculture Department position has recently received $2.5 billion in economic stimulus funds that are earmarked for such purposes.

The White House statement noted that Adelstein had led FCC efforts to improve rural telecommunications and broadband. Before being named as to his FCC post, he served for 15 years in various staff positions in the U.S. Senate. He is a South Dakota native.

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps wished Adelstein well in his appointment, saying that Adelstein’s experience base, knowledge and commitment will allow him to make a huge contribution to the Agriculture job.

"I congratulate my friend and colleague Jonathan Adelstein on the announcement that President Obama intends to nominate him for the critically important post of Administrator for the Rural Utilities Service," Copps said. "He knows the issues and challenges inside-out and will be able to hit the ground running, which is exactly what's needed since RUS has been given such extraordinary responsibilities by the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."