Telephony / August 19, 1996
By Larry Luxner
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton has nominated Regina Markey Keeney, chief of the FCC's Common Carrier Bureau, to fill the remaining Republican vacancy on the five-member commission. If confirmed by Congress next month, Keeney would become the first FCC career employee in the agency's history to become a commissioner.
Keeney, 40, would occupy the vacancy left by the departure of Andrew Barrett in February. A native of South Carolina, Keeney earned a bachelor's degree at Georgetown University in 1977 and a law degree from Harvard in 1980. She came to the FCC in 1994 after spending nine years as the Republican communications counsel on the Senate Commerce Committee.
As chief of the Wireless Bureau, Keeney supervised the auctioning off of the radio spectrum, raising billions of dollars for the U.S. Treasury in the process.
Keeney's nomination was warmly welcomed by the other commissioners, with FCC Chairman Reed Hundt noting that "Gina's experience as chief of two bureaus, Wireless and Common Carrier, would be invaluable to our deliberations as commissioners in furtherance of the Telecom Act of 1996." Commissioner Susan Ness said Keeney's greatest achievement "is also her most recent: orchestrating the Herculean effort to develop rules for competition in local telephone markets."
She also appears to have the support of influential lawmakers on both sides of the aisles, including Republicans Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott and Larry Pressler, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, as well as Democrats Ernest F. Hollings, Daniel K. Inouye and Paul Simon.
"The White House would have been hard-pressed to have found any nominee with more experience and knowledge of complex telecommunications issues than Gina Keeney," wrote Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) in a letter to Pressler. "She is an excellent candidate and she has my enthusiastic support."