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Chip Pickering, the former Mississippi congressman who helped craft the 1996 Telecom Act, will take over as CEO of trade association COMPTEL in January.
Pickering replaces Jerry James on Jan. 2. James has led COMPTEL since mid-2007; he is leaving the organization to pursue opportunities in telecom's private sector.
Pickering comes to COMPTEL, which lobbies for CLECs and other competitive telecom players, from Capitol Resources LLC, a public affairs and government relations firm in Jackson, Miss., where he works as a partner. Prior to that, Pickering served in Congress for six terms; he was first elected in 1996. Before then, however, he worked for Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi and, as a staff member of the Senate Commerce Committee, took part in drafting the Telecom Act that birthed the competitive communications industry.
"I am looking forward to joining COMPTEL as the industry embarks on another great era of change, and hope that by working with policymakers and other industry stakeholders we, together, can develop a path for fostering greater competition and sparking new innovations in the way consumers communicate, learn and receive the vital services they need," Pickering said in a prepared statement.