Statement of Michael Copps, former FCC Commissioner and senior advisor to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Campaign, on FCC departures

Statement of Michael Copps, former FCC Commissioner and senior advisor to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Campaign, on FCC departures

This week has exacted a heavy toll on the Federal Communications Commission with the announced departures of two Commissioners – and two friends.

At a tumultuous time for the U.S. political and economic system, Chairman Julius Genachowski, who announced his departure today, understood the critical importance of connecting all Americans and moved broadband to the forefront of the Commission’s agenda. Where there had been no plan, he developed a plan that rose far above the hands-off bromides that had limited deployment and adoption for the previous eight years. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the transformative power of the awesome technologies that are changing the way we live our daily lives. Julius was invariably pleasant to work with, keen in his insights, and committed to doing his job well. I expect his future will be bright, and that is what his gracious wife, Rachel Goslins, and their children richly deserve.

Commissioner Robert McDowell this week also announced his intention to depart. We served together for more than five years. We met regularly, exchanged ideas freely, sometimes trying to convert one another but, as in most proceedings before the Commission, more often agreeing. He was a rock to lean on while, as Acting Chairman, I oversaw the transition of the country’s broadcast airwaves to digital technology. He has been articulate in expressing his beliefs, gracious in his demeanor, humorous when the occasion demands it (which is often), and invariably pleasant to work with. I am also confident the future holds many good things for him his wife Jennifer, and their children, and I look forward to continuing friendship with both Rob and Julius in the years ahead.

Now we anticipate a significantly new FCC. I hope the President will nominate individuals dedicated to the furtherance of the public interest, who see the Commission as a consumer protection agency, and who will bring to the fore media issues that have been allowed to drift for the better part of a generation. Candidate Obama spoke about slowing the mad rush to media consolidation, reasserting the public interest in FCC oversight, and building a media ecosystem reflecting the great diversity of America. I look forward to nominees who will work toward these goals.

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