Confirm Gigi Sohn for FCC Seat: A Call for Merit-Based Consideration of the First Openly LGBTQ Person Nominated to the FCC
Gigi Sohn, President Joe Biden's nominee for the fifth seat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), had her third confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on February 14, 2022. Sohn, a progressive broadband policy advocate, has long been a supporter of net neutrality and other consumer-friendly policies that would be enabled by a 3-2 Democratic majority on the FCC.
At the hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled Sohn over political donations she had made to senators who would be voting on her nomination. Cruz argued that the donations showed Sohn's political bias, though Sohn defended them as “relatively small donations” made as “a citizen who just wanted to participate in the Democratic process.”
Sohn has also been criticized for her views on net neutrality, which her opponents argue amount to regulatory overreach. The US Chamber of Commerce has called her support for government-owned broadband networks “alarming.” Despite this, executives at conservative news networks Newsmax and One America News Network have supported Sohn's nomination and praised her longtime commitment to free speech.
Sohn is also the first openly LGBTQ person to be nominated to the FCC. In response to homophobic and sexist attacks against her, a coalition of 22 LGBTQ organizations led by LGBTQ Victory Institute sent a letter to Senate leadership calling on them to swiftly confirm Sohn. The Democrats' pickup of one Senate seat this year gives them a committee majority that could advance Sohn to the floor.
If confirmed, Sohn could provide the tie-breaking vote that would allow FCC Chair to move forward with progressive initiatives. Millions of LGBT Americans want to succeed based on the merits of their qualifications, not their sexuality, and so Sohn should be considered on her merits and qualifications, not her sexuality. It is time for the Senate to confirm Gigi Sohn to the seat she is so qualified for without delay.
0. “Gigi Sohn cites urgency of fixing broadband map in third Senate hearing” Light Reading, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.lightreading.com/broadband/gigi-sohn-cites-urgency-of-fixing-broadband-map-in-third-senate-hearing/d/d-id/783237
1. “Watch Out, Gigi Sohn Is Back – WSJ” The Wall Street Journal, 12 Feb. 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/watch-out-gigi-sohn-is-back-senate-confirmation-hearing-nomination-partisan-left-wing-fcc-progresive-political-attack-2843ebe0
2. “Biden FCC nominee slams critics, says ISPs shouldn’t get to choose regulators” Ars Technica, 14 Feb. 2023, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2023/02/biden-fcc-nominee-slams-critics-says-isps-shouldnt-get-to-choose-regulators/
3. “FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Again Faces Senate Committee As Biden Administration Tries To Break Agency Deadlock” Deadline, 14 Feb. 2023, https://deadline.com/2023/02/fcc-gigi-sohn-joe-biden-1235259173
4. “For Sake of Accurate Broadband Map, Gigi Sohn Urges Senators Not to Delay Her Vote as FCC Commissioner” BroadbandBreakfast.com, 14 Feb. 2023, https://broadbandbreakfast.com/2023/02/for-sake-of-accurate-broadband-map-gigi-sohn-urges-senators-not-to-delay-her-vote-as-fcc-commissioner
5. “LGBTQ Groups Call for Confirmation of Gigi Sohn as FCC Commissioner” TV Technology, 6 Feb. 2023, https://www.tvtechnology.com/news/lgbtq-groups-call-for-confirmation-of-gigi-sohn-as-fcc-commissioner
6. “Sohn blames ‘dark money' for opposition to her joining FCC” Roll Call , 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.rollcall.com/2023/02/14/sohn-blames-dark-money-for-opposition-to-her-joining-fcc/
7. “Gigi Sohn's FCC nomination is in trouble because of her radical views, being gay has nothing to do with it” Fox News, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/gigi-sohns-fcc-nomination-trouble-because-radical-views-being-gay-nothing
8. “Senate Urged to ‘Stand Up to Homophobic Attacks' on Biden FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn” Common Dreams, 7 Feb. 2023, https://www.commondreams.org/news/gigi-sohn-fcc-homophobic-attacks