The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Anna Gomez, an experienced communications executive and federal official, as the fifth commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, breaking a longstanding deadlock and giving the federal agency a Democratic majority.
Gomez most recently served as a senior adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. In past roles she was a deputy assistant director for communications and information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a vice president at Sprint Nextel, a partner at the law firm Wiley Rein and a variety of roles during 12 years at the FCC.
The confirmation was widely praised by industry associations and civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which praised the Senate on Thursday for “doing its job.”
“With the confirmation of Anna Gomez, the FCC will now have all seats filled and will once again be able to work on critical issues around equitable access to broadband and online resources,” the ACLU’s statement read. “This includes addressing digital redlining, reforming programs that support universal broadband access, re-establishing net neutrality, and protecting consumers’ online privacy.”
Lilian Coral, head of the Open Technology Institute, said her group was “elated” by the news.
“She is not only an exceedingly qualified expert in telecommunications and technology, but also an ardent advocate for the public interest,” she said in a statement. “We celebrate that Gomez will be the first Latina Commissioner in over 20 years, and hope that she will help guide the agency in addressing online disinformation and hate speech, barriers to internet access and adoption, and other tech-related issues that disproportionately impact historically marginalized communities in an increasingly diverse United States.”
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society called Gomez “very qualified.”
“With Gomez’s leadership, the FCC will play a critical role in ensuring the public interest in the unfolding communications revolution,” reads a statement from Benton Institute Executive Director Adrianne Furniss. “Our Nation’s economy and much of our civic life are increasingly dependent on open and competitive broadband facilities and services.”
The National Emergency Number Association called Gomez “a person of the highest integrity.”
“She is an expert in telecommunication law and policy,” NENA’s statement reads. “She fully understands all aspects of 9-1-1 and public safety policy. She will make an excellent commissioner.”