As now-former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn completed final preparations this week to leave the FCC, the White House announced on Monday that Geoffrey Starks has been nominated by President Trump to assume Clyburn’s seat at the agency.
Starks, a Democrat, joined the FCC in 2015 and currently serves as an assistant chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. Prior to his arrival at the FCC, Starks served at the Justice Department as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general. In keeping with the recent practice of naming minority party agency nominees who are recommended by the Senate majority leader, the Trump Administration selected Starks as Clyburn’s apparent successor on the recommendation of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). A spokesman for the Senate Commerce Committee also told reporters that, in compliance with the Senate’s custom of evaluating agency nominees in bipartisan pairs. Starks’ nomination will be considered alongside that of Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who was re-nominated earlier this year to a full, five-year term at the agency.
If confirmed by the Senate, Starks would serve a four-year FCC term to expire on June 30, 2022. Meanwhile, on the eve of her departure from the FCC on Wednesday, Clyburn joined her FCC colleagues in applauding the nomination as she described Starks as “a sharp communications attorney committed to public service.” While Carr agreed that Starks’ career “evidences a longstanding commitment to public service,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wished Starks a “speedy confirmation” as FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly noted that Starks “will bring a new voice to important debates before the Commission.”
Executives throughout the telecom industry offered similar praise. Declaring that Starks’ “record of public service . . . and his deep expertise in communications policy are just the right ingredients for a distinguished tenure as a Commissioner,” U.S. Telecom Association President Jonathan Spalter urged the Senate “to confirm him quickly.” As National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith affirmed that his organization “strongly supports” the Starks nomination, Meredith Atwell Baker, the CEO of wireless association CTIA, said, “we look forward to his quick confirmation and to working with him to ensure that U.S. consumers continue to benefit from world-leading wireless services.”