Eshoo, Speier, and Over 30 Democratic Women Urge White House to Nominate Rosenworcel FCC Chair

February 22, 2021
Press Release
Rosenworcel would be the First Woman to Chair the FCC

WASHINGTON, DCU.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, led a letter today to White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain in support of Jessica Rosenworcel to be named the permanent Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The letter is signed by 33 Democratic women. Rosenworcel would be the first woman to permanently chair the FCC in its nearly 90-year history.

“[Rosenworcel] has spent years raising the important voices and unique needs of women that have been ignored for far too long in technology and telecommunications policy,” wrote the members. “Women make up half of our country’s population. We’re entrepreneurs, policymakers, mothers, consumers, patients, and professionals, and our needs have been ignored across every sector of society. In her eight years as a Commissioner of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel has elevated the voices and needs of women.”

Since President Biden appointed Rosenworcel to the role of Acting Chairwoman, she has taken steps to reduce the Homework Gap, promote telehealth, and advance many more key priorities.

“Importantly, Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel inspires our daughters by showing them that they can succeed and thrive in technology policy, a role she has played long before being appointed to her current seat,” continued the members. “For years she has hosted a podcast where she interviews women technology leaders, and she has spoken openly about how working mothers can be policy leaders. Her words and actions show our daughters that there is a place for them in technology.”

A PDF of the letter can be found HERE and the text of the letter is below:

 

Dear Mr. Klain,

We write to express our strongest support of Jessica Rosenworcel to be named the permanent Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She has spent years raising the important voices and unique needs of women that have been ignored for far too long in technology and telecommunications policy. She has already hit the ground running by taking several bold and important actions as Acting Chairwoman, has been unanimously confirmed by the Senate twice, and is perfectly qualified to be the first Chairwoman of the FCC.

Women make up half of our country’s population. We’re entrepreneurs, policymakers, mothers, consumers, patients, and professionals, and our needs have been ignored across every sector of society. In her eight years as a Commissioner of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel has elevated the voices and needs of women, a small sample of which we’ve listed here:

  • Net Neutrality and Women Entrepreneurs: She has been a champion of protecting a free and open internet and has shown that repealing Obama-era net neutrality hurts women, especially women business owners. 
  • Lifeline and Domestic Violence Survivors: She strongly opposed the Trump FCC’s gutting of Lifeline, a program to subsidize phone and internet service of low-income Americans, by focusing on how the program is critical for domestic violence survivors.
  • Homework Gap and Mothers: She refocused the Digital Divide debate on one of its worst outcomes, the “Homework Gap,” a phrase she coined to describe the 17 million American children who lack access to high-speed internet.  This dynamic has worsened during the pandemic as mothers have had to take on the disproportionate burden of supervising remote learning.
  • Telehealth and Maternal Mortality: She laid out what the FCC can do to combat the shamefully high maternal mortality rates in our country, including the expansion of telehealth options available to pregnant women.

Since President Biden appointed Jessica Rosenworcel to the role of Acting Chairwoman just four weeks ago, she has already taken steps to reduce the Homework Gap, promote telehealth, and advance many more key priorities.  As women lawmakers, we understand the critical importance that women’s voices bring to policymaking, and we cheer what Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel has long brought to the FCC’s work.

Importantly, Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel inspires our daughters by showing them that they can succeed and thrive in technology policy, a role she has played long before being appointed to her current seat. For years she has hosted a podcast where she interviews women technology leaders,  and she has spoken openly about how working mothers can be policy leaders.  Her words and actions show our daughters that there is a place for them in technology.

In its nearly 90-year history, the FCC has embarrassingly never had a woman as a permanent chair. This is an unacceptable reality for an agency that oversees one-sixth of our nation’s economy and makes consequential decisions that impact all Americans. We urge the Administration to rectify this track record by nominating Jessica Rosenworcel to the role of FCC Chairwoman.

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