House Dems Identify Net-Neutrality Witness Wish List

Say panel needs some diversity

House Democrats have offered up their own witness list for a planned House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on network neutrality.

Republican E&C chair Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has scheduled a Sept. 7 hearing entitled "Ground Rules for the Internet Ecosystem" and invited the heads of edge providers Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon and Netflix, and ISPs Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

But E&C ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Communications Subcommittee ranking member Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said the witness list must extend beyond the big companies. In order to ensure that members of the committee hear a broad variety of views from a more diverse group of people other than just CEOs, we have selected eight people to be invited that are prepared to testify and provide the Committee with their perspectives on the impact of the FCC’s actions," they wrote to Republican Committee leaders in a follow-up to their earlier suggestion the GOP list was lacking in small business leader and entrepreneur input.

The eight witnesses on the Democrats' list:

  • Jonathan Jackson, co-founder of start-up Blavity, a social media site aimed at Black millennials.
  • Ruth Livier, digital media writer and activist.
  • Jesse Vollmar, co-founder of FarmLogs, an agriculture-targeted software developer.
  • Myrna Morales, educator and tech advisor.
  • Johari Farrar, performer with the Truthworker Theater Company who crowdfunded her tuition.
  • Brandi Collins, senior campaign director for Media and Economic Justice at Color of Change.
  • Steven Renderos, organizing director at the Center for Media Justice.
  • Bryan Mercer, executive director of Media Mobilizing Project.