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Sen. Ben Ray Luján Named Communications Subcommittee Chair

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan
Sen. Ben Ray Luján (Image credit: N/A)

Sen. Ben Ray Luján has been tapped to chair the Senate Communications Subcommittee, according to CTIA, the wireless association, which gave him a shout out Friday (Feb. 19). Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) took over as chair of the parental Senate Commerce Committee Feb. 11.

The ranking member will be the former subcommittee chair,  Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who is also former chair of the full committee. 

Luján, who had been a member of the House before being elected a senator in 2020, was on the House Energy & Commerce Committee's Communications Subcommittee  and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Before being elected to the House, he was the chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

While in the House, Luján pushed for rural broadband deployment and for unlimited voice minutes and data for the FCC's low-income Lifeline subsidy-eligible households for the duration of the pandemic.

He also spoke out publicly against threats by President Trump to pull TV licenses. "I am both shocked and disappointed that President Trump today suggested the revocation of a major network’s broadcast license because he doesn’t like the negative light in which he has been portrayed in their newscasts," he said.

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That included introducing a bill, the Protecting Dissenting Viewpoints and Voices Act, that would have prevented the FCC from targeting broadcasters "or anyone else" on the basis of viewpoint, toughen FCC political ad disclosure rules, and boost broadcast diversity.

“CTIA congratulates Senator Luján on his selection as chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband," said the wireless association's president, Meredith Attwell Baker. "Chair Luján is a strong advocate for connecting consumers to the power of wireless. We look forward to working with him, Ranking Member Thune and the members of the Subcommittee and broader Senate Commerce Committee to close the digital divide and build the 5G Economy.”

“USTelecom congratulates Senator Luján on his appointment to lead the newly named Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband," said USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter. "The value of broadband infrastructure and 21st century communications networks has never been more clear – and urgent. Our global technology leaders, Main Street companies and heartland cooperatives are collectively committed to working with Chair Luján on our shared goals of broadband investment, affordability and accessibility, and to connecting New Mexico – particularly tribal lands – and every community in the country.”