FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who took office in 2009, has announced her intention to resign. She will be missed. Her second term of office expired last year, and she remained in office under the provision of a law that allows commissioners to continue in office unless they resign, a successor is sworn in or the session of Congress ends about 18 months after the commissioner’s term expires, whichever comes first. President Donald Trump had not nominated Clyburn for another term.
Nonetheless, Clyburn’s exit was a surprise. She announced it during the commission’s April 17 Open Meeting. Her departure is a loss for the FCC. No matter what the issue, she gave her full throat to her opinions. She was a force to be reckoned with on such matters as net neutrality, phone rates in prisons, media diversity, communications service for the disenfranchised, tower technician safety and many others.
Upon her departure announcement, Chairman Rajit Pai applauded her leadership and candor. Comm. Jessica Rosenworcel called her a “dynamo.” All you had to do is see her speak once to feel her passion for this industry.
Clyburn, a Democrat, served most of her eight years while her party controlled the FCC. She was he first female chairman of the FCC, serving as acting chairman for five and a half months in between Chairmen Julius Genachowski and Tom Wheeler.
Political control of the FCC factors in many of the agency’s decisions, and some say it factors in almost all but the most technical of decisions. Clyburn may have concluded that without a Democratic majority, continuing on the commission could be too frustrating. Or, maybe eight years simply was enough.
Rosenworcel, on the other hand, has less time on the commission, and she has been mentioned as possibly taking the chairmanship if control of the White House shifts to the Democrats in 2021.
This article was aided by additional reported by Don Bishop, executive editor and associate publisher, AGL Magazine.