WASHINGTON -- As expected, the White House has announced its intention to nominate Meredith Attwell Baker to take the Republican FCC seat vacated by Deborah Taylor Tate.
That news came as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was trying to get a full Senate vote on the nominations of Julius Genachowski and Robert McDowell for FCC chairman and commissioner, respectively.
Baker had been acting head of National Telecommunications and Information Administration before exiting in January.
While the converter-box program has come under fire, Attwell Baker's stewardship has received generally high marks.
The collegial and genial Baker had been a good fit for the high-profile phase of the coupon campaign, when the NTIA had to work with industry, government partners and community partners on an education effort.
"We congratulate Meredith Atwell Baker on this
well-deserved nomination and look forward to working with her and the entire
Commission on the critical issues that will shape the future of
telecommunications in the U.S.," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow. " Meredith
brings outstanding experience and an important understanding of how
telecommunications and broadband can play an important role in the nation's
economic recovery. She will be a great addition to the
Baker had been with the NTIA since 2004, when she joined as a senior adviser. The NTIA is the administration's telecommunications-policy advisor, but the DTV-transition-coupon program has put it in the spotlight as never before.
Before joining the NTIA, Baker was vice president of Williams Mullen Strategies and, before that, director of congressional affairs at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. Her resume also includes time in the legislative-affairs office at the State Department.
Ken Ferree, president of The Progress & Freedom Foundation and a former top FCC staffer himself, added his praise to the growing throng.
"I commend the president for his choice of Meredith Baker to serve as commissioner at the FCC," said Ferree. "Meredith is extremely smart, well-versed in communications policy, and a skilled coalition builder. Her time at NTIA also gives her a unique perspective on the important role technology and market innovation can play in the sector of the economy regulated by the FCC."
She also received praise from a key Senate Republican.
“Meredith Baker will be a strong, independent voice on the Federal Communications Commission,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee. “Her previous experience in telecommunications policy will serve her well as she works with other commissioners to tackle the FCC’s crucial priorities, such as improving broadband access for unserved communities.”