Pai, Rosenworcel nominated as FCC commissioners

U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Republican Ajit V. Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to fill one existing vacancy and one upcoming slot on the roster of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioners.

U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Republican Ajit V. Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to fill one existing vacancy and one upcoming slot on the roster of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioners. If approved by the Senate, the nominations would bring the working roster of commissioners back to its normal five after the resignation by Republican Meredith Attwell Baker this past May and the impending departure of Democrat Michael Copps, whose term has expired.

Both nominees have extensive backgrounds in the public and private sectors, including stints at the FCC. Pai currently is a partner in the Litigation Department as well as a member of the Communications Practice at Jenner & Block in Washington, DC. He came to Jenner & Block from the FCC, where he was deputy general counsel, associate general counsel, and special advisor to the general counsel. While at the FCC, he successfully argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Inc. v. FCC. He also has worked for the Department of Justice and subcommittees of the Senate Judiciary Committee. From 2001 to 2003, he worked at Verizon Communications.

Rosenworcel currently is the senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. She reports to Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV. She began her stint at the FCC in 1999 as an adviser in the Common Carrier Bureau, followed by a role as legal counsel for the Wireline Competition Bureau, where she was Commissioner Copps’ senior advisor. Prior to joining the FCC, she was an associate for the law firm Drinker, Biddle focusing on the communications sector.

“I could not be more pleased that President Obama has nominated Jessica to be an FCC Commissioner,” said Senator Rockefeller. “She is an undisputed communications law expert who has earned the respect of both Democrats and Republicans alike on the Commerce Committee as well as telecommunications industry stakeholders and consumer advocates.”

Outgoing FCC Commissioner Copps also praised his former employee. "I know first-hand what a gifted public servant Jessica Rosenworcel is because she worked in my office in a number of capacities, including senior legal adviser. Her experience here, combined with her current Congressional work, give her a perspective on telecom and media issues both wide and deep,” Copps said.

Copps also praised Pai’s nomination. "I have also had the pleasure of working with Ajit Pai while he served in the Commission's Office of General Counsel. During that time, he provided valuable counsel on many of the complex matters coming before the Commission. Ajit's experience, both at the agency and on Capitol Hill, prepares him well for the many urgent telecom and media challenges confronting the Commission,” according to Copps.

Several industry groups also praised the two nominations. Said American Cable Association (ACA) President & CEO Matthew M. Polka, “ACA is pleased President Obama will nominate Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai to serve at the FCC. Both are talented individuals with a deep understanding of the digital economy and the vital role played by small and mid-sized cable operators in providing world-class communications services to hometown America.”

“Both Jessica and Ajit share extensive telecommunications policy experience, a deep understanding of the agency that is informed by their prior service, and a profound appreciation for the continuing investment needed to promote innovation and sustain today’s dynamic and competitive telecommunications marketplace,” said National Cable and Telecommunications Association President & CEO Michael Powell. “We look forward to working with each of them in their new capacities once confirmed by the Senate.”

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