Chairman Tom Wheeler To Exit FCC January 20th
December 15, 2016 at 3:36 PM (PT)
FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER announced that he is leaving the Commission effective JANUARY 20th. WHEELER, a Democrat, has served as Chairman of the Commission for over three years; he will leave as the new TRUMP administration takes office.
In a statement released this morning, WHEELER said, “Serving as F.C.C. Chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life. I am deeply grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity. I am especially thankful to the talented Commission staff for their service and sacrifice during my tenure. Their achievements have contributed to a thriving communications sector, where robust investment and world-leading innovation continue to drive our economy and meaningful improvements in the lives of the American people. It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans.”
Commissioner AJIT PAI, a Republican whose relationship with WHEELER was often contentious, said, "Like his beloved OHIO STATE BUCKEYES, Chairman WHEELER brought passion and tenacity to the playing field each and every day. Despite our differences in many areas of communications policy, I commend him for his years of public service. It has been a privilege to serve alongside him, and I wish him well in his future endeavors."
Republican Commissioner MIKE O'RIELLY, also often a WHEELER foe, said, “I truly thank Chairman WHEELER for his public service to our country. While we may not have always agreed on the substance or procedures of Commission work, TOM is passionate about his views and committed to solving communications problems, including our work together on Rate of Return reform. More importantly, I enjoyed the chance to get to know him on a personal level and chat on non-work matters, especially about our families. I wish TOM great success in any future endeavors he pursues.”
Commissioner JESSICA ROSENWORCEL said, "Making change in WASHINGTON is not for the faint of heart, but the Federal Communications Commission accomplished much under Chairman TOM WHEELER’s watch. It’s been a privilege to work with the Chairman and I’d like to thank him for his service to the Commission and to the country. He brought a long history of experience in the communications sector to the job and proved himself to be a serious advocate for his positions and for consumers. His tenure at the agency will not soon be forgotten and I wish him the best in the future."
Commissioner MIGNON CLYBURN said, "Where to begin? The 'BO JACKSON of Telecom' as President Obama once said. I seem to be stuck in this sports analogy vortex today, so I will keep it going. Whether you agreed with him or not, TOM WHEELER, my chairman, has made a bold impact on this agency and this ecosystem. Maybe we should not really be surprised: his years of experience with industry, his ability to make tough decisions, and his willingness to fiercely stand up for and protect his client. Fortunately for all of us, since late fall of 2013, the American consumer has been the direct beneficiary of his quest for competition, competition, competition and consumer protection.
"Personally, TOM WHEELER, you have helped to make me a better Commissioner. You have
both challenged and assisted me to advance key priorities that will continue to make a difference in the lives of millions. Following more than 4 million public comments, under your leadership we adopted open Internet rules grounded in the strongest legal framework possible. Those rules were upheld by the D.C. Circuit earlier this year. Under your leadership, we finally modernized Lifeline, a three-decade old program that is on the cusp of more efficiently meeting the needs of those who would most benefit in a 21st century America. Low-income Americans have affordable options for high-speed broadband, which could mean a new lease on life when it comes to applying for jobs, accessing telehealth services, and much more. I could go on, Mr. Chairman, but let me conclude by saying how incredibly grateful I am for your leadership and friendship. Thank you for standing up, speaking out and serving nobly."
NAB President and CEO GORDON SMITH said, “Chairman WHEELER has been a tenacious fighter on telecommunications issues during a period of remarkable change in the media landscape. We wish him well in whatever the future may hold.”
WHEELER had recently reportedly offered to resign to try and save ROSENWORCEL's spot on the panel with the change in administrations, but the Senate adjourned without addressing ROSENWORCEL's confirmation, leaving her term expired.