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Profiles of Prospective Candidates to be FCC Chairman: Karen Kornbluh and Catherine Sandoval




WASHINGTON, March 27, 2013 – This week continues its series of profiles of many of the top prospective candidates that might be selected to serve as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Julius Genachowski, the 29th chairman, on Friday announced on March 22, that he would step down within a few weeks.

Many credited Julius Genachowski’s appointment as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to his close relationship with President Barack Obama. If this model was to continue for his predecessor, Karen Kornbluh may have the inside track.

Currently, Kornbluh is the United States Ambassador for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Prior to her time at the OECD, Kornbluh had been a senior advisor to Obama from his early days as senator through his election in 2008. Kornbluh’s career in telecommunications began when working for former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., now Secretary of State. Kerry was a key member of the Senate Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee.

Like Genachowski, Kornbluh also has ties to Obama’s alma mater Harvard University, where she received her M.A in Public Policy. In the mid-1990s, Kornbluh held several different titles at the FCC before leaving as Deputy Chief of the Mass Media Bureau. Kornbluh is seen as helping President Obama to design several key policy platforms of his first term.

By contrast, possible candidate Catherine Sandoval does not have overtly strong ties to President Obama. Sandoval was the first Latina recipient of the Rhodes scholar in 1984. Currently, Sandoval is commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as an associate professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law. A graduate of Yale and Oxford Universities, she worked as an attorney in private practice until 1994, when she was named as a Special Assistant at the FCC.

From 1994 to 1999, Sandoval served several divisions of the FCC. She was granted special commendations for her work with small business licensing and international telecommunications development.


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