FCC Commissioner Tate departs, now what?

Closing out her three-year term, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate took part in her last meeting via teleconference on Tuesday. Tate, one of three Republican commissioners at the agency, was nominated by President Bush on November 9, 2005, and confirmed by the Senate the following month. Bush renominated Tate for a full five-year term in 2007, but the Senate did not act upon the conformation.

During her term, Tate focused on children and families, as well as involvement in issues around the universal service fund. One of her efforts was to push broadcasters and advertisers to cut back on the time they spent promoting unhealthy foods. 

Republican and Democratic Commissions she served with praised her contributions, including her collegiality, dedication and grace.   Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell said Tate was often the "voice of consensus," helping the commission find the middle ground on complicated matters.

Speculation now turns to what will happen next. The FCC is now left with four commissions evenly split along party lines, but Republican Chairman Kevin Martin is expected to depart when the Obama administration takes office in January. There also seems to be no clearly telegraphed path as to who will be nominated as a new FCC Chairman, with speculation ranging from Obama buddy Julius Genachowski, to telecom-wonk favorite Blair Levine ultimately assuming the post.

For more:
- Tate departs FCC. Article.

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