Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman Recognizes Great Federal Employee, Michael Copps

August 2, 2010

Madam President, I rise once again to honor one of our Nation's great Federal employees.

The Federal employee I am recognizing this week--and this is my 89th since last May, and here they are on the chart--has made a name for himself as an advocate for sensible regulation of the communications industry.

At the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Copps has been a tireless fighter for the public interest and a steadfast campaigner for localism in broadcasting. In his position as one of the five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to oversee the regulation of our communications industry, Mike must work with the other Commissioners to come to agreement on key issues affecting broadcasting, the Internet, and other media. Whether they agree with him or not, I know they have to respect and admire his passion and energy in advocating for what he believes to be the best way to serve the American people.

I did not choose to honor Mike only because he is one of the FCC's Commissioners; he has had a distinguished public service career for three decades. His service as Commissioner is just his latest role in the Federal Government. Mike is currently in his second term, having been appointed twice by President George W. Bush.

Before his appointment to the FCC, Mike served at the Department of Commerce as the Assistant Secretary for Trade Development and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Basic Industries.

Prior to his service with the Commerce Department, Mike spent 12 years here in the Senate as chief of staff to former Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina. That is how I got to know Mike, when I was chief of staff for now-Vice President and then-Senator Joe Biden. I can say from personal experience that, as a chief of staff, Mike was truly first class. He earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues across the Senate on both sides of the aisle. Smart, exercising good judgment, and a very good listener, Mike embodied the skills and values that make someone a great chief of staff.

Before coming to Washington in 1970, he spent time working in the private sector for a Fortune 500 company, and he also taught as a history professor for some years at Loyola University of the South, in New Orleans. He holds a bachelor's degree from Wofford College in South Carolina and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In his current role, Mike has been an untiring advocate for the public and has worked to push the FCC back toward its core mission: enforcing the regulations that maintain fair competition, protecting consumers, and ensuring that the communications industry serves the public interest. Particularly, he has been a crusader against control of the Internet by big corporations. His promotion of an open Internet is based on his belief that communications media should benefit all and foster the growth and development of communities.

Last week, I spoke from this desk about the dangers of regulatory capture. Over the past decade, many of our regulatory agencies have been caught up in a deregulatory mindset that viewed self-regulation as not only adequate but preferable. Michael Copps has long been a voice of reason against regulatory capture.

He is just one example of the many outstanding men and women at the Federal Communications Commission. They are all truly great Federal employees, and I hope my colleagues will join me in honoring their service to our Nation.

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