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FirstNet Names Swenson Chairwoman

Sue Swenson, vice chair of the board of FirstNet, has been tapped by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to succeed Sam Ginn atop the organization, which is overseeing the creation and operation of the first nationwide interoperable broadband first responder network. Ginn decided not to seek reappointment.

FirstNet is being funded by proceeds from a series of FCC auctions culminating with the broadcaster incentive auction planned for 2015.

"Under Sam’s leadership, we have assembled an accomplished management team and staff that are enthusiastic and fully committed to our mission of building a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety," Swenson said. "Sam led the building of the organization from scratch and instituted a culture that embraces innovation and partnerships with the public safety community. I look forward to ensuring that this culture grows under my chairmanship and beyond.

"Ms. Swenson has been a tremendous asset to the Board since her appointment nearly two years ago," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the legislation creating the auctions and launching FirstNet. "She understands the enormity of the challenges ahead and the tremendous responsibility she’ll have in guiding the organization through the next two years.  I thank Ms. Swenson for her willingness to serve as Chair and look forward to working closely with her.”

FirstNet dates from a 9/11 Commission recommendation following the difficulties firefighters had communicating and the consequences of that failure.