In the wake of a federal indictment that forced Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) to relinquish his position as the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, lawmakers on Wednesday named Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) as the senior Republican on that panel. On Tuesday, Stevens resigned as committee vice chairman after being charged with seven counts of making false statements on federal disclosure forms. In contrast to Stevens, who has been at the center of a wide range of telecom-related debates on Capitol Hill, Hutchison—with one exception—has largely been silent on telecom matters during the current congressional session. Hutchison has, however, shown interest in digital television issues and has co-sponsored legislation with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that would permit television stations within 50 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border to continue analog broadcasts for five years after the nationwide DTV transition in 2009. Sources also say that former committee chairman and presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ)—the second highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee—was unable to step into Stevens’ position as McCain would have been required to give up his ranking membership on the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Receiving news of the appointment, Hutchison stated: “I am honored to temporarily step in for Senator Stevens . . . while the legal process works itself out.”