Mignon Clyburn, Speaking Up For You

Adrianne B. Furniss

May 9 marks the end of a chapter. But this book is still being written.

Today, we celebrate the many accomplishments of Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commissioner.

Few public servants have worked as hard for people whose voices are too seldom heard. Few public servants have so consistently and constantly put citizens and consumers first in policymaking.

Since 2009, Commissioner Clyburn has been an effective advocate at the Federal Communications Commission, relentlessly promoting policy options that protect citizens, enable competition, promote investment, and promise a better America for all people.

From day one as FCC Commissioner, Mignon Clyburn understood that the cost of broadband service is a major hurdle to closing the digital divide. She worked to understand and alleviate other obstacles to broadband adoption including privacy and digital literacy.

Commissioner Clyburn led the FCC effort to reform and modernize Lifeline, making the program, which ensures affordable access to critical telecommunications services including broadband, more robust and more efficient. 

She championed reforms for lowering the cost of inmate telephone rates, realizing that facilitating communications between prisoners and their families reduces recidivism, benefitting us all. 

FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn

Clyburn helped craft the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules which balanced a free, open, internet marketplace with protecting consumer interests.

Since the beginning of her time as a Commissioner at the FCC, Clyburn championed the rights of local communities to choose their broadband futures by building next-generation networks or developing public-private partnerships.

Most importantly, Commissioner Clyburn frequently left her 8th floor office and the DC beltway to speak with the American people she works for. Clyburn understood that the mission of the FCC is to be the public’s advocate, protecting and promoting the public interest.

After nine years at the FCC advocating for the underserved and unserved, Commissioner Clyburn is redirecting her efforts so she has the freedom to inspire action at all levels of society.

A voice like Mignon Clyburn’s cannot be silenced. It will only grow louder. Advocating for full digital inclusion, each new adopter will be added to the chorus delivering the message to elected and appointed officials: We cannot afford to exclude anyone from the opportunities of the Digital Age.

Today, I am sad to see this exemplary public servant step down. But tomorrow I welcome a new, strong public interest advocate for access, equity, and diversity.

Mignon Clyburn, thank you for your public service. The Benton Foundation stands ready to work with you to help deliver new opportunities, to strengthen communities, and to bridge the digital divide.

Adrianne B. Furniss is the Executive Director of the Benton Foundation.

By Adrianne B. Furniss.