WASHINGTON — On Monday, President Biden nominated Anna Gomez, a State Department senior technology adviser, former FCC and NTIA official, and corporate attorney, to fill the fifth and final seat at the Federal Communications Commission. The president also renominated Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Brendan Carr, who are both nearing the end of their respective terms at the FCC.
The FCC has remained in an unprecedented 2–2 deadlock since January 2021, as deep-pocketed phone, cable and broadcast companies have worked to hamstring the agency that oversees their businesses. Gomez’s nomination follows a protracted and ultimately failed effort to confirm Gigi Sohn — a public-interest champion whose confirmation ran up against a vicious and relentless smear campaign by telecom and broadcast lobbyists, right-wing media and astroturf operatives.
Gomez’s nomination, coupled with the announcements on Starks and Carr, would finally restore the agency’s full complement of commissioners once all three move through the Senate confirmation process.
Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González said:
“We’re now approaching two-and-a-half years without a fully functional Federal Communications Commission. Never before has the American public had to wait so long for a commissioner’s seat to be filled. This senseless delay is harming millions of people, including working families trying to pay their rising monthly bills and Black, Indigenous, Latinx and rural communities that the biggest telecom companies and broadcast conglomerates have long neglected.
“In addition to her corporate experience — which has often entailed working for competitive carriers instead of incumbents — Gomez has a long track record of public service, including high-ranking positions at the FCC and Commerce Department. She is eminently qualified for this role at the FCC. She would also be the first Latinx FCC commissioner in more than two decades, and we celebrate the White House’s nomination of experts from diverse backgrounds for these important roles.
“We’re pleased to see that the administration moved to renominate Commissioner Starks as well, as his term has expired and he would need to leave the FCC at the end of the year absent this step. Commissioner Starks has consistently advocated for the public interest in his first four years at the Commission, and we look forward to his speedy confirmation. Ensuring that the agency has no more gaps in its full roster of five voting commissioners is a prudent move.
“The FCC has a mandate to increase the diversity of local-media ownership and to ensure broadband access is affordable, open and reliable for all. We need all five FCC commissioners as soon as possible to fully move this work forward.
“We expect Gomez to help restore the proper legal framework for broadband and the Net Neutrality protections that the FCC repealed during the Trump administration. In poll after poll, people in the United States of all political stripes say they want enforceable rules for an open internet. We’re confident that Gomez will give weight to this overwhelming public support and be responsive to public input on the full range of issues before the agency.
“The power to return the FCC to full strength now rests with the Senate leadership. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell must move quickly to confirm Gomez and Starks. Any further delay means big companies will have an easier time engaging in unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory actions, because they know this vital watchdog agency isn’t operating with the majority it needs. If these leaders want to improve the lives of internet users, cellphone customers, TV watchers and radio listeners — meaning everyone — they need to speed up confirmation before the clock runs out at the FCC.”