With the Federal Communications Commission meeting today for the first time under new Chairman Tom Wheeler, Michael Copps, a former commissioner now serving as special adviser to Common Cause's Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, sent this letter to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who had served as acting chair since spring.
November 14, 2013
The Honorable Mignon Clyburn
Federal Communications Commission
455 -- 12th St., SW
I write today in recognition of your exemplary public interest leadership as Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission. Many assume that an Acting Chair is hamstrung by brevity of tenure. You proved the conventional wisdom wrong by shepherding to passage crucial measures to protect consumers, promote competition, and enhance diversity and localism on the airwaves. In spite of a government shutdown, you expanded the role of Acting Chairwoman beyond expectation. In a few months, you demonstrated remarkable leadership on:
* Promoting choice and competition in the wireless market through 700Mhz interoperability;
* Ensuring public interest protections by taking the time for a deliberate review of Verizon's plans for restoring service to Fire Island;
* Reining in usurious inmate calling service rates, allowing prisoners and their families to connect affordably;
* Taking on broadcast industry consolidation by reforming the UHF discount, reforming a loophole to the monopoly and duopoly rules;
* Promoting media diversity by advancing the Critical Information Needs studies to ascertain how local media ecologies are serving the public interest.
Several consequential policy matters face the now fully-reconstituted commission. Each issue -- among them closing the digital divide, protecting the Open and uncensored Internet, applying the brakes to media and telecommunications industry consolidation, and making political ad disclosure a reality -- represents an opportunity for continued public interest leadership. I look forward to working with you on these and other critical issues.
I know personally the unique challenges and opportunities an Acting Chair faces. You met and overcame them. Thank you for your leadership and for showing that an individual leader can still make a difference.
Michael J. Copps
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Media and Democracy