A Nebraska utility regulator said Monday that she's in the running to gain
the Democratic vacancy on the Federal Communications Commission created by the
Sept. 7 departure of Gloria Tristani.
Anne Boyle, a member of the Nebraska Public Service Commission since 1996,
said she is lobbying for the job to ensure that at least one of the five FCC
members has firsthand experience with rural state and state utility issues.
'With Gloria Tristani stepping down, there will no longer be the presence of
a state commissioner at the FCC,' said Boyle, 58, whose six-year term
representing Omaha on the state PSC expires at the end of next year.
After Tristani leaves, all four FCC members will be experienced Washington
players, but Boyle said the agency needs someone from rural America so it is not
caught off guard when rural interests speak up about FCC policies.
'We are a different part of the country. Our topography in this part of the
country is both very challenging and very diverse,' she said. 'Often times I
hear [at the FCC], `We hadn't considered something until somebody told me
Boyle -- who acknowledged that she has plenty of competition for the job --
said she has reached out for support from Nebraska's two U.S. senators, Democrat
Ben Nelson and Republican Chuck Hegel.
She is also seeking the help of former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), a close
friend of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who is expected to have a
big say in picking the next FCC member.
In May, Boyle stepped down as chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party. She
is a member of the consumer-affairs committee of the National Association of
Regulatory Utility Commissioners. The NARUC is urging the Bush White House to
pick a state regulator, but it has not endorsed a candidate.
Implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been a difficult task in
Nebraska, Boyle said. But she added that the law has produced a choice in local
phone service in her community.
She said she subscribes to local phone service, cable service and
high-speed-data service provided by Cox Communications Inc. 'In Omaha, you can
get that,' she added.