“She will help deliver for the American people and she has a keen eye on something that all members of this committee care passionately about and that is affordable, accessible broadband.”
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell delivered the following opening remarks at today’s 3rd nomination hearing for Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s nominee to serve on the FCC Commission, underscoring Sohn’s exception qualifications, bipartisan support and her commitment to serving the public:
Today, the Commerce Committee is meeting to consider the nomination of Gigi Sohn to be a commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission.
This committee has already held two previous hearings about her nomination and so we know a lot about her background, her views, and important transparency issues and we thank her for being here again today.
If we want someone on the Federal Communications Commission who is truly committed to the job, then I believe Ms. Sohn fits that bill.
She has a very long history at being part of the process at the FCC and she is qualified. She will help deliver for the American people and she has a keen eye on something that all members of this committee care passionately about and that is affordable, accessible broadband. Thank you for you leadership and advocacy on that issue.
Although she has been before our committee, she has now been criticized for important policies like standing up for free speech. I want to thank you for your policy positions, knowing that some people like Justice Gorsuch or Rand Paul, or many others believe in the Fourth Amendment. Thank you for articulating those views as well.
These personal attacks are distractions from the fact that Ms. Sohn is immensely qualified for this position and a highly effective, would be, FCC commissioner.
She has more than 30 years of experience working on telecommunications policy, including as senior advisor to Chairman Wheeler at the FCC. She is a prominent voice in the telecommunications area, importantly, as I mentioned, on accessibility and affordability.
And if confirmed she would be the first openly gay commissioner of the FCC.
Ms. Sohn has a history of putting the public interest first, regardless of whether that means supporting policies endorsed by Republicans or Democrats. She is well-known for convening a broad range of stakeholders from both sides of the aisle on almost every part of the debate that we are looking at. Regulatory framework, broadband deployment, broadcasting, and mass media in the marketplace.
This is why her nomination is supported by such a diverse group of people.
Former Mississippi Representative Chip Pickering who has stated that Ms. Sohn will be great advocate and champion for the principles of competition and the First Amendment.
Preston Padden, Former President of ABC and Founding Executive Director of Fox Broadcast who has stated that he has worked with and against her for the last thirty years, and she is one of the most prepared and experienced nominees in the history of the FCC.
And Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax who has urged the confirmation of Miss Sohn’s nomination and she is committed to promoting diversity, localism, and competition in the marketplace.
So, it is no surprise that Ms. Sohn’s career history includes helping to ensure carriages of all voices are heard. This is something this committee has to continue to work on and I welcome the opportunity to work with my colleague, the ranking member, on this important issue and I know he has many views on this as well.
But those many voices do include Fox Broadcasting, Newsmax, and OAN networks, some of the very same networks that our colleague wrote a letter about when they were de-platforming the large cable providers.
So Miss Sohn has been a consistent advocate for pro-consumer common sense policies such as lowering the cost of broadband and working towards universal connectivity. Given that there is a great deal of work that needs to be done on this issue at the FCC, it is time to have a full commission.
We know that just a sampling of the work includes the oversight of their mapping efforts, making sure that we put a stop to robocalls, caller ID spoofing, ensuring the United States adopts cutting edge forward looking spectrum policies, and many other issues.
I know she will be that voice and it is critical that we have one right now.
We know that she is capable of helping us implement what are the broadband deployments that we have just put a lot of resources against. But I would ask those who are trying to reposition Miss Sohn to think about who it is you're really advocating for.
The billions of dollars that people want to continue to have and invest broadband, or the policies that will help us get true competition in the marketplace, and finally, deploy the types of broadband services that every American deserves.
I hope that our hearing will help bring these issues that haven't been brought to light further to light and that we have a healthy discussion, but we continue to respect the witness and her willingness to serve us at the FCC.