NCL is proud to present longtime ally and consumer advocate FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel with a 2020 Trumpeter Award. Jessica was named as one of POLITICO's 50 Politicos to Watch and profiled by InStyle Magazine in a series celebrating “women who show up, speak up and get things done.” We couldn’t agree more.
Read on to learn more about what makes her a formidable consumer advocate.
Jessica brings more than two decades of communications policy experience and public service to the FCC. Prior to joining the Commission, she served as Senior Communications Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, under the leadership of Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV and Sen. Daniel Inouye. Before entering public service, Jessica practiced communications law in Washington, DC.
Jessica is a native of Hartford, Connecticut. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and New York University School of Law. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband Mark, and children Caroline and Emmett.
We enjoyed sitting down with her recently for a Q&A.
NCL: What is your top contribution to consumer advocacy?
Jessica: I believe the future belongs to the connected. Everyone needs modern communications to have a fair shot at 21st Century success. That is why protecting an open Internet, closing the "Homework Gap" for students, and promoting greater opportunity, accessibility, and affordability in our communications services have been top priorities.
NCL: What advice do you have for consumers specifically relating to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Jessica: The coronavirus pandemic has brought new attention to the digital divide as work, education, healthcare, and more have migrated online. There may have been a time when broadband access was considered nice-to-have, but it’s become absolutely need-to-have in this crisis. It’s essential to maintain some semblance of normal life.
So I have pushed my agency, the FCC, to do more to get consumers online and keep them connected during this crisis. Unfortunately, for far too many, these connections remain out of reach. To take just one example, this pandemic has been especially cruel to millions of students caught in the Homework Gap who have been told to go online for school but who lack the Internet access at home required to make it to the remote classroom. This is an issue that I have championed for years, because it affects both rural and urban America and needs to be addressed if we want to ensure that going forward every community has access to the opportunities of the digital age. Now more than ever, it’s time that policymakers modernize their thinking to ensure that no child is left offline.
NCL: How did you get involved with consumer advocacy?
Jessica: I like to think that a commitment to public service runs in my family. My father served in the Air Force, later going on to a career as a nephrologist in Hartford. For three decades, he also ran the city clinic for hypertension and kidney failure. My mother has spent more than two decades helping run a soup kitchen in Hartford. And my grandfather before them served in the United States Customs Service in Washington. My great grandfather before that served the public in a different way: he swept the streets of New York. So it is a great honor to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission and to continue a family tradition of service to community and country.
To learn more about Commissioner Rosenworcel, join us on October 6, 2020, for NCL’s annual Trumpeter Awards Program, where we will honor exceptional leaders with distinguished records advocating for consumer and worker rights.
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