Trump nominates Geoffrey Starks to fill Democratic FCC seat

A former aide to Barack Obama will replace Mignon Clyburn, a fellow Democrat, on the Federal Communications Commission.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
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Trump announced his pick to fill the Democratic seat on the FCC, left vacant after Mignon Clyburn stepped down. 

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President Donald Trump has nominated Geoffrey Starks, an FCC official charged with overseeing the agency's rules, to replace outgoing FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

Starks currently serves as the assistant bureau chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, which is responsible for monitoring compliance with the agency's rules and orders. Its focus is on protecting consumers, encouraging competition, ensuring public safety and national security.

Starks served as a staffer for Barack Obama when he was a senator. He also worked at the Department of Justice under Obama-appointed Attorney General Eric Holder. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and is a graduate of Yale Law School.

Like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who Trump elevated to head up the FCC last year, Starks is also from Kansas. 

The FCC is comprised of five commissioners. Three of those members can be from the same party, leaving two seats to be filled by the political party that doesn't control the White House. Commissioners serve five-year terms and are nominated by the president. The US Senate must confirm the nomination.

If he is confirmed, Starks' term will run through June 30, 2022.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is the other Democrat on the commission. Starks replaces Clyburn, who stepped down after the expiration of her tenure on the commission. Clyburn was a fierce supporter of consumer causes, including net neutrality.

In a statement, Pai said that Starks had a "distinguished record of public service, including in the FCC's Enforcement Bureau." He wished him well in his upcoming confirmation process, which will take place in the next few months.