This month, President Biden has finally announced nominations for FCC Chair in Jessica Rosenworcel and for the open Democratic seat on the FCC in Gigi Sohn, respectively. The President also announced his nomination of Alan Davidson for Director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the Department of Commerce.
With the dual FCC nominations, President Biden officially nominated Ms. Rosenworcel as the first permanent female chair of the FCC. Ms. Rosenworcel has been Acting Chair of the FCC since the departure of the former chairperson, Ajit Pai.
Additionally, if confirmed, Ms. Sohn will also make FCC history as the first openly LGBTQIA+ Commissioner. Ms. Sohn has served as Chief of Staff for former Democratic FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Prior to that position, she worked as the Co-Founder and CEO of the communications and intellectual property policy advocacy organization Public Knowledge.
Mr. Davidson, if confirmed, will serve as the President’s principal advisor on telecommunications and information policy. Davidson is a leader in the nonprofit internet community working to promote equitable broadband access.
Notably, these nominations come after much frustration from lawmakers and broadband companies alike due to the President’s delay in nominating his permanent FCC chair. Federal law allowed Rosenworcel to keep her seat until year-end allowing her to stay on as Acting Chair. However, with the Congressional term nearing its end and the President’s delay in filling the empty FCC seat, the Republicans would have a de facto 2-1 majority at the FCC if Biden failed to nominate Rosenworcel and Sohn. This Republican majority would continue until the two Democratic seats were filled.