Former RUS Head, Trump Appointee, Backs Sohn Nomination

Gigi Sohn
(Image credit: Public Knowledge)

Former Trump appointee Chad Rupe, who served as head of the Rural Utilities Service including its ReConnect broadband deployment program, has endorsed Gigi Sohn for the open Democratic seat on the FCC.

Sohn, currently a senior fellow at the Benton Institute is a longtime public advocate and former top FCC adviser.

Sohn has gotten pushback from some Republicans for past stands and her nomination has yet to get a full vote in the Senate, a vote that will first require the nomination be discharged from the Senate commerce Committee since a vote there on referring her nomination favorably to the Senate ended in a tie.

In an op ed Monday (March 28) in the rural-focused Daily Yonder, Rupe said Sohn's confirmation by the Senate should happen without delay.

"There is no doubt that Sohn is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in rural America is connected," saying she had helped develop the $14 billion Affordability Connectivity Program and the $65 billion Biden infrastructure bill.

He said that some have suggested she was not supportive or rural broadband, but that that "nothing could be further from the truth." Instead, he said, she has been critical of the FCC for not making sure past investments served rural communities' long-term needs.

He said to make sure the $65 billion investment in broadband goes to help close the digital divide, "we need government officials like Gigi Sohn." ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.