FCC chair to leave agency in January

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 

The chair of the Federal Communications Commission plans to leave the regulator when the next president is inaugurated.

On Monday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the agency on Jan. 20 after holding the chair position for the past four years following an appointment by President Trump. Pai first became an FCC commissioner back in 2012 when he was appointed by President Obama.

“To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America,” Pai said in a statement.

“I also deeply appreciate the chance to have worked alongside the FCC’s talented staff,” he continued. “They are the agency’s best assets, and they have performed heroically, especially during the pandemic.

“It’s also been an honor to work with my fellow commissioners to execute a strong and broad agenda,” Pai went on to say. “Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. 

“And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices,” he added. “As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before.”

Four of the current FCC commissioners also shared statements about Pai’s decision, including:

— Jessica Rosenworcel: “While we did not always agree on policy matters, I always valued our shared commitment to public service.  Serving the American people is a tremendous honor and I wish him the best in the future.”

— Mike O’Rielly: “Congratulations to my friend and colleague, Ajit Pai, for his distinguished run as FCC chairman. His commission ushered in many policy advancements and made strides updating communications regulations, from restoring the commission’s successful light-touch regulatory framework for Internet service providers to modernizing media rules, opening up more spectrum bands for commercial use, and expanding broadband access to unserved Americans. I wish him all the best in the next stage of his career and thank him for his great service to our nation.” 

— Geoffrey Starks: “Chairman Pai and I may disagree on many policy issues, but we are in full agreement about two things: the outstanding quality of the FCC’s staff and the tremendous abilities of Patrick Mahomes. I wish Ajit the best of luck on the road ahead.”

— Brendan Carr: “Ajit did far more than simply mark time during his run as chairman. He took on the tough policy fights and made the right calls for the American people. He strengthened the country’s national security by protecting our communications networks from bad actors that would do us harm.  And he took critical steps in the days following COVID-19 to ensure that Americans could stay connected during the pandemic — whether for distance learning, working remotely or telehealth. Ajit is one of the most kind and earnest people you could hope to meet. I have benefited greatly from his friendship and advice over the years. The American people have benefitted greatly from his leadership, and it has been an honor to serve alongside him.  I want to wish Ajit, Janine and their wonderful children all the best.”

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