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Meredith Attwell Baker Gets FCC Nod

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, Baker's stewardship has gotten 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 campaign.

Baker had been with the NTIA since 2004, when she joined as a senior advisor. 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, prior to that, director of congressional affairs at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. Her resume also includes working in the legislative-affairs office at the State Department.

“President Obama has made an excellent choice by nominating my friend Meredith A. Baker to be a commissioner of the FCC," said FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. "I have had the privilege of working with Meredith for many years in both the private and public sectors and I know first hand of her strong commitment to public service. Her experience, intellect, energy, regulatory philosophy and sense of humor will make her a first-rate commissioner. Additionally, her knowledge of the issues that are likely to come before the FCC in the coming years is second to none. American consumers will be well-served by her service at the Commission. I look forward to working with her.”

“This is yet another smart nomination," said Verizon senior VP Susanne Guyer. "Meredith Attwell Baker has the experience and qualifications to be a very effective commissioner. At this crucial time for broadband investment, jobs and the economy, there needs to be a full team of commissioners in place. So we hope Congress will act quickly to approve her and the other nominees.”

“We are delighted that President Obama announced that he intends to nominate Meredith Attwell Baker to serve as FCC Commissioner," said AT&T senior executive VP Jim Cicconi. "She will bring more than a dozen years of public service and private sector experience to the FCC. Her leadership abilities, smarts and good nature will be invaluable assets to the agency as it tackles a variety of important policy issues. "

“Meredith Attwell Baker is a proven leader in the wireless, broadband and technology fields, and her expertise and experience will add great value to the Federal Communications Commission," said Vonya McCann, VP of Sprint Nextel. "Sprint applauds Ms. Baker’s nomination and looks forward to working with her on critical issues affecting consumers, competition, and the broadband economy.”

“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 NCTA 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 Commission.”

“Meredith Baker will be a strong, independent voice on the Federal Communications Commission,” said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), 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. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that she receives an expeditious and fair nomination hearing and is quickly confirmed. A complete FCC panel is needed to address the many important communications issues that currently face the nation.”

"Over the next five years, Meredith Baker will play a key role in shaping the future growth of broadband Internet access across the nation," said American Cable Association President Matthew Polka, "particularly in rural and sparsely populated communities where ACA members have been active for decades. We look forward to working with Meredith Baker following her Senate confirmation not only on broadband policy but also on discriminatory actions against smaller operators in the wholesale cable programming and broadcasting markets that certainly require the FCC’s prompt attention."
Within hours of announcing its intention to nominate Baker Thursday, the White House made it official by submitting the nomination to the Senate, along with that of Mignon Clyburn for a Democratic seat.