Mignon Clyburn- First Black Woman to Head the FCC


On May 27th, Mingon Clyburn broke barriers as she became the first woman to lead the Federal Communications Commission. She will be the 30th chair or interim chair since the office was first held in 1934; the first female commissioner, appointed in 1948, was Frieda Hennock.

Clyburn is the daughter of Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third ranking House Democrat, and has been an FCC commissioner since 2009. Prior to the FCC, she spent 11 years on the South Carolina Public Service Commission, a state telecommunications regulatory agency. She was also the publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper aimed at the area’s African-American community, as reported by Hillicon Valley.

On hot-button issues — from net neutrality to mega-mergers — Clyburn has broken with the politics of her powerful father, third-ranking House Democrat Jim Clyburn, and has made FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski work for her vote.

“A lot of us had incorrect expectations of the kind of commissioner she’d be, based in fear,” said Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge. “But she’s favored the public interest with every single vote, and she really cares about disempowered communities.” as told on Politico.

However, Clayburn’s tenure will be short, since she is acting as interim chairwoman, but she’ll be in charge of the FCC until Wheeler is confirmed by Congress. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who heads the Commerce Committee, was originally expected to start the process in May, but it’s now been moved to June or later. Congress must also approve a replacement for Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican who announced his resignation around the same time as the Democratic Genachowski. Clyburn, meanwhile, will chair her first open FCC meeting in late June. (The Verge)

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