After eight years Mignon Clyburn, the only African-American on the FCC board of commissioners is stepping down. Clyburn, the daughter of James Clyburn, member of the U.S. House of Representatives for South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District was appointed by President Barack Obama. Recently Clyburn fought valiantly against the repeal of net neutrality put in place during the Obama administration. Current commissioner, Ajit Pai, successfully killed net neutrality by repealing the Open Internet Order that reclassified telecoms as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
Clyburn briefly served as the FCC’s first female chairperson in 2013 before Obama appointee Tom Wheeler stepped in as chairman. With Wheeler, Clyburn pushed the FCC to pass the strictest net neutrality rules to date.
During her time on the commission Clyburn worked to secure the middle ground of both pro-competition and pro-consumer regulation. She fought for and achieved the unlocking of smartphones, Internet access for low-income and minority communities, and per-minute rate caps on long-distance phone calls for prison inmates. In addition she advocated for diversity in media ownership and emphasized diversity and inclusion in STEM opportunities.
Before joining the FCC Clyburn spent 11 years as a member of the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina. Prior to that she was the publisher and general manager of the Coastal Times a family-founded newspaper that focused on issues affecting the African-American community. Clyburn is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.