Obama leads Washington reaction to Genachowski exit


Barack ObamaWhenever a changing of the guard is afoot at the FCC, a large number of interested Washington parties are sure to weigh in. Leading the crowd upon news of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s impending exit is his old friend Barack Obama. And the President had plenty of company.

Here’s what various people had to say:

* President Barack Obama: I want to thank Chairman Genachowski for his dedicated service on behalf of the American people.  Over the last four years, Julius has brought to the Federal Communications Commission a clear focus on spurring innovation, helping our businesses compete in a global economy and helping our country attract the industries and jobs of tomorrow.  Because of his leadership, we have expanded high-speed internet access, fueled growth in the mobile sector, and continued to protect the open internet as a platform for entrepreneurship and free speech.  I am grateful for his service and friendship, and I wish Julius the best of luck.

* NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith: NAB salutes Chairman Genachowski for his years of service at the FCC. The FCC chair is arguably one of the most difficult jobs in Washington, and yet Julius consistently performed with dedication and focus. We may have disagreed on occasion, but America’s broadcasters wish him well in his journeys ahead.

* ACA President/CEO Matthew M. Polka: ACA commends Chairman Genachowski for making broadband deployment and adoption national priorities to improve the lives of all Americans and drive economic growth.  ACA deeply appreciates that Chairman Genachowski recognized that the independent cable community is central to advancing the goal of universal and affordable broadband access, especially in rural and remote areas that are some of the most economically challenging to serve. Viewed in their totality, Chairman Genachowski’s achievements — which include numerous waivers and exemptions that avoided placing disproportionate regulatory burdens on smaller operators —  show that he understood and accounted for the concerns and values of smaller operators.  ACA greatly appreciates that and wishes Chairman Genachowski a long and productive future.

* Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron: When Julius Genachowski took office, there were high hopes that he would use his powerful position to promote the public interest. But instead of acting as the people’s champion, he’s catered to corporate interests. His tenure has been marked by wavering and caving rather than the strong leadership so needed at this crucial agency. Though President Obama promised his FCC chairman would not continue the Bush administration’s failed media ownership policies, Genachowski offered the exact same broken ideas that Bush’s two chairmen pushed. He never faced the public and ignored the overwhelming opposition to his plans.

* House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA): Chairman Genachowski has been a brilliant chair of the Federal Communications Commission.  He has transformed and energized the agency.  Under his leadership, the FCC protected consumer access to the free and open Internet, preserved and expanded wireless competition, and reformed the broken universal service and intercarrier compensation system.  He successfully championed legislation in Congress to address the nation’s spectrum shortage by authorizing the world’s first incentive auctions.  I thank him for his service, congratulate him on his accomplishments, and wish him well in his future endeavors.

* House Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA): Because of Chairman Genachowski’s leadership, new ground was broken at the FCC. America is leading the world in scale deployment of next generation mobile networks with tens of billions of dollars in private investment. Innovators will have access to more unlicensed spectrum than ever before, supporting the promise and potential of the wireless technology of tomorrow. The Internet remains a free and open platform for inventiveness and the sharing of ideas. Chairman Genachowski implemented the kind of long-term growth initiatives America’s telecommunications sector needs to compete in the digital age. It was a privilege working with him to advance our common goals.

* Alex Nogales, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition: We have certainly had our share of ups and downs during Chairman Genachowski’s term. Unfortunately, more than I would have liked, I have found myself profoundly disappointed. Particularly, I have been troubled by his proposals for media ownership rules, the persistent absence of Latinos working at the Commission, and his unwillingness to move NHMC’s Petition for Inquiry into hate speech in the media – an item that he refused to introduce for a Commission vote despite it having the support of all other Commissioners at one point in time. Indeed, even when I agreed with his positions or actions, I often felt that he missed the chance to do more and take the truly bold measures needed. We thank Chairman Genachowski for his service, wish him well, and advise our President to diversify the FCC by appointing a qualified woman of color as Chair.

* CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro: As I named him at the 2013 International CES®, Chairman Genachowski is the ‘Spectrum Chairman. Consumers and industry alike will benefit for years to come thanks to Genachowski’s service at the FCC.