President Joe Biden has nominated Gigi Sohn to fill a vacant seat on the Federal Communications Commission, potentially putting her on track to become the first out LGBTQ FCC commissioner in history if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Biden nominated Sohn for a seat, along with Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, who he tapped for to be the cahir of the panel, in order to give Democrats a 3-2 majority.
If both candidates are not confirmed by the end of the year, Rosenworcel’s term will expire and Republicans will claim a 2-1 majority on the normally five-member panel, reports The Hill.
Progressives have been calling for Biden to push through FCC nominations for months, hoping that if Democrats regain control of the panel, they can reinstitute net neutrality rules for Internet providers.
Sohn, currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, has been a favorite of liberal advocacy groups, having served as counselor to former FCC chair Tom Wheeler from 2013 to 2016.
In that role, she advised Wheeler on a variety of Internet, telecommunications, and media issues — experience that proponents of her nomination cite as part of her qualifications for a seat on the FCC.
A potential Sohn nomination was pushed heavily by LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative, which recommends and advocates for qualified LGBTQ people to be appointed to key roles within government.
The institute previously organized more than 30 LGBTQ organizations to sign onto a letter to the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office calling for her nomination.
The Initiative, which first began under President Bill Clinton’s administration, has been credited with successfully lobbying for the appointment of 158 of former President Barack Obama’s 330 LGBTQ appointments.
Sohn is the latest high-level LGBTQ nominee in the Biden administration, which reports that 15% of its appointees identify as LGBTQ, reports LGBTQ Victory Institute.
“Gigi is poised to make history as the first out LGBTQ commissioner at the FCC, but more important is that nobody is more qualified than her to tackle the breadth of issues the FCC faces in the near future,” Ruben Gonzales, the executive director of LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement.
“Not long ago, appointing an LGBTQ person to such a key position would be considered a political liability. Yet the Biden administration is building the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration ever and is proving they can do so while appointing the best possible people for each position.”
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