President Obama June 25 nominated Meredith Attwell Baker, who was acting assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the Bush administration, to fill the final Republican seat on the Federal Communications Commission. Earlier in June, Obama nominated Republican Robert McDowell to serve a second term on the FCC.
For the three Democratic FCC seats, Obama has already nominated executive Julius Genachowski to serve as chairman of the FCC and South Carolina Public Service Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to join Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps. Genachowski and McDowell's nominations have been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee and are awaiting a final Senate vote.
In addition to her NTIA background, Baker brings a great deal of Washington experience and connections to her FCC nomination, starting with a gig at the State Department working for James A. Baker, the former secretary of state and treasury secretary under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Baker later worked as director of congressional affairs for CTIA, senior counsel at Covad Communications and as a lobbyist for Williams Mullen Strategies. Her husband, James A. Baker IV, is the managing partner of the Washington office of Baker Botts.
In 2000, Baker took a leave of absence from Covad to work for the Republicans on the 2000 presidential vote recount efforts in Florida. Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin also worked on the recount campaign.
"Ms. Baker has an extensive background in telecommunications policy and understanding of the key issues affecting U.S. wireless consumers," CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said in a statement. "We believe the faith the president has shown in her is well founded and we know she is going to be a valuable addition to the commission."
Sprint Nextel Vice President Vonya McCann added in a statement, "Meredith Attwell Baker is a proven leader in the wireless, broadband and technology fields, and her expertise and experience will add great value to the Federal Communications Commission. Sprint applauds Ms. Baker's nomination and looks forward to working with her on critical issues affecting consumers, competition, and the broadband economy."