The man who challenged outgoing FCC Chairman Michael Powell in a controversial vote over wholesale phone rules in 2003 is taking his place.
President Bush announced today his plans to designate FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin as the agency’s chief.
Powell, who has served on the commission since 1997, pledged his “complete cooperation to ensure a smooth transition” and wished his successor “all the best for every success.”
“Kevin Martin has been an outstanding FCC commissioner over the past four years, and I applaud his appointment to the chairmanship position,” U.S. Senator Conrad Burns of Montana said. “This is not an easy job, and Martin has demonstrated the knowledge and experience to handle the responsibilities and the challenges in the road ahead. I am confident in his abilities, and I look forward to working with him in this new role.”
Martin is taking over the agency at a time when telecom companies are lobbying Congress to reform the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
“Commissioner Martin understands how dramatically global communications have changed and how crucial it is that we update U.S. policies to keep pace with modern advances in order to encourage market-based competition among companies investing in a wide array of technologies and to safeguard vital social objectives,” said Walter McCormick, president and CEO of the United States Telecom Association.
In 2003, Martin and Powell two of the three Republicans on the commission clashed over drafting rules governing wholesale access to the biggest local phone networks. Martin and the two Democrats, FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, prevailed in an order that required the regional Bells to continue opening their networks to rivals at discounted rates.
J. Sherman Henderson, III, chairman of CompTel/ALTS, the Washington, D.C. association representing competitive telecom providers, said: “We are particularly gratified that the White House has chosen the best possible candidate for this important position. Commissioner Martin has distinguished himself over the last four years by demonstrating a courageous commitment to intellectual honesty.”
Before joining the commission in 2001, Martin was a special assistant to the president for economic policy. He served on the Bush-Cheney transition team and was deputy general counsel for the Bush campaign.