Former FCC, CPUC member goes to Comcast

In the latest case of a former public official going to work for the industry he or she used to regulate, Comcast today named former Federal Communications Commission member and California Public Utilities Commission member Rachelle Chong as its regional vice president of government affairs for California.

Rachelle ChongChong will oversee all aspects of Comcast’s governmental affairs activities, as well as all cable and telecommunications policy matters, throughout the state. She will be based in the company’s Livermore office.

“Rachelle has a proven track record as a prominent telecommunications lawyer, fair regulator and a motivational leader,” Curt Henninger, regional senior vice president for Comcast California, said in a news release. “Her understanding of technology and ‘hands on’ management style, combined with her creative approach to the ever-evolving world of communications and her life-long ties to California, make her the perfect choice for this role.”

Chong was the first Asian American to serve on the FCC, and holds the same distinction with the CPUC.

She was appointed to the FCC by President Bill Clinton in May 1994, and served until November 1997, working on implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, digital television transition rules, children’s television, the first spectrum auction rules, and services rules for many new wireless services.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the CPUC in January 2006 and reappointed her in December 2008; there, she led broadband initiatives and regulatory reform in the communications area, including implementation of the state’s first video franchise law. She also led the CPUC’s smart grid, electric vehicle, demand response and dynamic pricing energy initiatives.

In between the two regulatory stints, Chong was a partner at Coudert Brothers in San Francisco and Palo Alto, leading the firms’ West Coast Telecommunications and Internet Practice Group. Later, she was general counsel and vice president for government relations of Broadband Office, Inc., a Kleiner Perkins-funded broadband, communications, and applications service provider start up.

After her CPUC service, Chong was appointed by the governor to be special counsel for advanced information and communications technologies at the California Technology Agency, leading broadband, digital literacy, and public safety communications initiatives for the state and advocating before the FCC, Commerce Department and Congress on communications policy matters.

A Stockton native and San Francisco resident, Chong holds an undergraduate degree from Cal and a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Publius

    Cashing in……..