President Obama last week nominated congressional aide Mike O’Rielly for the FCC commissioner spot left vacant by the departing Republican Robert McDowell.
O’Rielly currently serves as a policy adviser to the Senate Republican Whip, Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. Obama already nominated wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler as the next FCC Chairman, taking over for Julius Genachowski.
O’Rielly has worked in D.C. for several years, serving as an aide to Republican Senators Jon Kyl and John Sununu and as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Following the resignations of Genachowski and McDowell, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has been serving as interim Chairwoman—the first female to lead the FCC—and the Commission has been operating with two Democrats and one Republican.
Reactions to O’Rielly’s nomination have been positive. CTIA congratulated him and pointed toward working together on spectrum issues. The National Association of Broadcasters also seemingly focused on spectrum, particularly the proposed broadcast spectrum incentive auctions, saying it looked forward to working with O’Rielly on “matters of critical importance to free and local broadcasting.”
Verizon Wireless was also complimentary of O’Rielly and hopeful he would prove to be a valuable ally in the transition to all IP-based wireless services as well as efforts to “modernize the country's outdated policy framework for communications technology.”