After months of stalling, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Anna Gomez as the FCC’s fifth commissioner, officially giving Democrats the majority at the regulatory agency.
The confirmation of Gomez, who has an extensive background as a telecommunications attorney, gives the Democrats a 3-2 edge at the agency, which is led by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat. Nathan Simington and Brendan Carr, both Trump appointees, are the Republicans on the commission; the other Democrat is Geoffrey Starks, who also was appointed by Trump.
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President Biden’s previous pick for the open seat at the FCC, public-advocacy veteran Gigi Sohn, withdrew her name from consideration March 2023 after her confirmation was stymied along party lines. In a statement at the tie, Sohn said she had been targeted with “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks” and that “It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators.”
On Thursday, the Senate voted 55-43 to confirm Gomez. Biden had nominated Gomez to serve as the third Democratic member on the commission in May 2023.
“Congratulations to Anna Gomez on her confirmation by the United States Senate. I look forward to welcoming her to the Commission,” Rosenworcel said in a statement. “Anna brings with her a wealth of telecommunications experience, a substantial record of public service, and a history of working to ensure the United States stays on the cutting edge of keeping us all connected. Her international expertise will be a real asset to the agency. I look forward to working with her to advance the agency’s mission to ensure the benefits of modern communications reach everyone, everywhere and that the United States can continue to lead in the digital age.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said in a statement, “Americans need an FCC that is fully equipped to expand access to affordable high-speed internet, protect and strengthen local news broadcasting, and promote spectrum innovation and emerging technologies. With today’s bipartisan vote confirming Anna Gomez as its fifth commissioner, the FCC has gained an extremely qualified, thoughtful leader who will bring her expertise and consumer-focus to deliver on these priorities.”
Gomez’s confirmation to the FCC also was applauded by multiple industry groups.
“We congratulate Anna Gomez on her confirmation as FCC Commissioner and look forward to working with her in facilitating continued investment, innovation and expansion in the communications and media industries, and to fulfilling our nation’s ambition to ensure that all Americans have access to robust and reliable internet service,” Michael Powell, president and CEO of cable-industry trade group NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, said in a statement. Powell, a former chairman of the FCC, added, “Ms. Gomez has earned a reputation for being thoughtful about policy and addressing issues with an open mind.”
Claude Cummings Jr., president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) labor union, said, “At long last, at this critical time for the U.S. telecommunications and media industries, we have a full roster of FCC commissioners. Anna Gomez is a dedicated public servant who is highly qualified to serve on the FCC. We are looking forward to working with her to realize the potential of the bipartisan infrastructure bill to bring affordable internet service to all Americans and to reverse the decline of local news that threatens the foundations of our democracy.“
Brenda Victoria Castillo, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), commented, “Today, we commend the Senate for their vote which brings an exceptionally accomplished Latina to the Commission. In an era where the evolution of the digital world holds significant influence over our lives, the confirmation of Anna Gomez to the FCC signals a historic stride towards an inclusive and equitable digital future. This occasion is momentous as Anna Gomez’s confirmation marks the first time in over two decades that a Latina holds a seat on the FCC.”
Gomez previously worked at the State Department, where she was a senior adviser for international information and communications policy in the bureau of cyberspace and digital policy. Gomez served as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) deputy administrator from 2009 to 2013. She also served for 12 years in various positions at the FCC, including as deputy chief of the international bureau and as senior legal adviser to then-Chairman William E. Kennard.
Prior to joining the State Department in 2023, Gomez was a partner in Wiley LLP’s telecommunications media and technology group. Gomez also was VP for federal and state government affairs at Sprint Nextel and an associate at Arnold and Porter. Gomez earned a bachelor’s degree in pre-law from Pennsylvania State University and her law degree from George Washington University Law School.
Born in Orlando, Fla., Gomez spent her childhood in Bogota, Colombia, before her family relocated to New Jersey. She now resides in Virginia.
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