Policymakers

Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.

Benton Institute Welcomes New Board Members

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society announced the appointment of two new board members, Denise Linn Riedl and Leon Wilson. Mayor Pete Buttigieg named Denise Linn Riedl the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of South Bend (IN) at the end of January 2019. Previously, Linn Riedl was in charge of Ecosystem Development at Chicago’s City Tech Collaborative.

John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era

Representative John Lewis (D-GA), a son of sharecroppers and an apostle of nonviolence who was bloodied at Selma and across the Jim Crow South in the historic struggle for racial equality, and who then carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress, died on July 17. He was 80. On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. 

Introducing the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Seventy-five years ago, in October 1944, my grandfather, William Benton, delivered a clarion call in the pages of Forbes magazine by articulating a forward-looking agenda on behalf of a coalition of business leaders (“the capitalists who cared enough about the system to save it”) to deliver a more peaceful and prosperous American future in the (then-expected) wake of winning World War II. William Benton recognized that American progress rested on the connection between economic opportunity and democracy.

Fritz Hollings: An Appreciation

Readers of this space may recall that I worked for many years (15) for U.S.

Presentation of the Fourth Annual Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Awards

The city of Charlotte’s namesake, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was Queen of Great Britain at the time of the US Revolution. Therefore, it seems appropriate to revisit the Queen’s City and celebrate the people and the organizations who are ensuring this digital revolution benefits everyone.

Brandeis: An Emphasis on Facts

From Louis Brandeis’s perspective, application of antitrust laws required both the embrace of hard-headed inquiry, spanning economics and the social sciences, and the litigator’s skill of distilling crucial facts. Brandeis’s work as a lawyer in private practice, his stint as special counsel to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), and his time on the bench demonstrate his commitment to solving social and economic problems, examining the practical reality of economic circumstances, and serving the purposes of the law with rigor and commitment.

Elections Matter: Who’s Who in Telecommunications Policy in the 116th Congress

The 116th Congress is underway. In the background of a partial government shutdown, lawmakers are getting their committee assignments. At Benton, we keep a close eye on two key Congressional panels because of their jurisdiction over many telecommunications issues and oversight of the Federal Communications Commission: 1) the House Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and 2) the Senate Commerce Committee. Here's a look at some key telecom policymakers -- and their priorities -- in the 116th Congress. 

Takeaways From Attorney General Nominee Williams Barr's Confirmation Hearing

William Barr’s nomination as President Doanld Trump’s attorney general is in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducted a confirmation hearing Jan 15. Below are some key communications policy takeaways:

Two Researchers Join Benton Team

Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss announced that Dr. Christopher Ali is the foundation’s new Faculty Research Fellow and Dr. Ryland Sherman is Benton’s new Research Associate. As the Benton Faculty Research Fellow, Dr. Ali will continue his work on a systematic and comprehensive assessment of rural broadband policy, technology, markets, and stakeholders.

A Stellar Public Servant

A legend is leaving the Federal Communications Commission as the new year begins. Her name is Karen Peltz Strauss. Some of you may not have heard of her, but to the nation’s disabilities communities, she is a hero. She achieved this status the old-fashioned way. She earned it. In over 40 years in Washington, I have been privileged to work with many brilliant public servants. Karen Peltz Strauss is in the top-most tier of these incredibly able people.  Her star shines brightly in the public service firmament. She came to the agency with a goal, she never wavered from that goal, and she achie