Tom Wheeler was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday as the FCC's new chairman. A former telecom lobbyist and investor, Wheeler was nominated by President Barack Obama in May and will replace acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, who took over the post when Julius Genachowski left earlier this year.
Wheeler faced last-minute opposition from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) over his views on political disclosure rules, while consumer advocates cited concerns about whether his former roles at CTIA and the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) would affect his ability to be unbiased about telecom policy.
Wheeler gained the support of Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who initially said he was skeptical that "a lobbyist" would be the right fit for the FCC chairman position.
"Tom Wheeler will be a strong advocate for consumers and the public interest at a time when the FCC is facing decisions that will shape the future of our nation's telephone network and the wireless, broadband, and video industries," Rockefeller said in a statement.
In addition to Wheeler, the Senate confirmed Michael O'Rielly, a veteran Republican advisor in Washington, D.C., to take over from Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who left the FCC earlier this year.
Clyburn congratulated both men in an official statement. "Tom brings a tremendous depth of experience, talent, and knowledge that will serve him well as the leader of this critically important agency," she said. "I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding FCC chairman."
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