WASHINGTON — The newest Federal Communications Commission member, Democrat Geoffrey Starks, will be sworn in today (Jan. 30) just in time to participate in his first public meeting.
He has also launched an FCC Twitter account and posted his first video talking about his excitement at getting started:
Due to the government shutdown, there will be no votes at the meeting, only announcements — like the one ushering in Starks, in an abbreviated gathering to satisfy the statutory requirement that the FCC meet monthly.
Starks was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee last June to succeed Mignon Clyburn, but due to some unrelated holds, he was not confirmed by the full Senate until Jan. 2, as the old Congress wrapped up outstanding business.
Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel has been pretty much a lone voice of pushback on the FCC's deregulatory agenda since Clyburn's exit last June.
Starks has been assistant bureau chief in the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, which is not a typical launching pad for a commission seat, like, say, a Hill communications counsel would be, though the most recent Republican addition, Brendan Carr, came directly from the FCC as well.
Starks has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Yale. University He also founded a community bank. Like FCC chair Ajit Pai, he grew up in Kansas. His wife is Lauren Thompson Starks, a former Obama appointee. Starks is also a former staffer to then-Sen. Barack Obama and a former attorney with Williams & Connolly in Washington. His Obama-era government service includes serving under Attorney General Eric Holder at Justice as the lead on financial and healthcare fraud.
“With Geoffrey Starks officially sworn in, the FCC is now at full capacity and can tackle thoroughly the serious communications policy issues facing consumers today," said Sarah Morris, deputy director of New America's Open Technology Institute. "We look forward to working with Commissioner Starks on many of these issues, and we are particularly eager to see him leverage his enforcement background to build on the priorities he identified at his confirmation hearing, including preserving the open internet and closing the digital divide.”