Mignon Clyburn becomes first woman to lead FCC

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Clyburn is the daughter of Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third ranking House Democrat, and has been an FCC commissioner since 2009. Prior to the FCC, she spent 11 years on the South Carolina Public Service Commission, a state telecommunications regulatory agency.

She was also the publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper aimed at the area's African-American community.

Clyburn is known as a liberal on the five-member commission and is a vocal advocate for media diversity and the commission's social welfare programs.

In a statement to the agency's staff, Clyburn said she sees herself as a "member of a relay team, running one of the middle legs." 

"My job is to build on forward momentum, give the next teammate a running start, an improved position, and no matter what, my goal is not to drop the baton," she said.

She said she plans to model herself after Michael Copps, a liberal commissioner who acted as interim chairman before the Senate confirmed Genachowski. Clyburn applauded Copps for approaching the job with seriousness, humility and for leading the transition from analog to digital broadcast television.

“So if asked about my goals as I take this new position, I would answer without hesitation – its hallmarks will be continuity and progress," she said.

Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell also resigned from the FCC on Friday, leaving Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Ajit Pai as the agency's other remaining commissioners.