Bush Names Martin FCC Chairman

Martin, who has been an FCC commissioner since 2001, would replace Michael Powell, who is stepping down as chairman this week.

"I am deeply honored to have been designated as the next Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and I thank President Bush for this distinct privilege," said Martin in a prepared statement.

Since Powell announced his plans to resign in January, Martin has been considered by many to have been the front-runner for the top post. Since he is already on the commission, Martin will not need Senate confirmation.

In a prepared statement, outgoing chairman Powell praised Martin, and pledged to help with a smooth transition of power.

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"His [Martin's] wide knowledge of telecommunication policy issues and insight into the rapidly changing nature of communications technology will serve the agency well," said Powell in his statement. "Ultimately, everything the FCC does must serve the public interest and benefit consumers, and I am confident he will be vigilant in pursuing these goals."

Powell leaves Martin with a rather full plate of issues to shephard through the commission, including a pending omnibus regulation outline for IP communications, as well as thorny issues surrounding intercarrier compensation and universal service. While Martin will be able to hit the ground running on such issues, Powell's departure and the expected departure of current commissioner Kathleen Abernathy means Martin will have to bring two new Republican commissioners up to speed quickly.

Martin, who was named by Bush to the FCC in 2001, had previously served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House. He took over that post following a stint as deputy general counsel for Bush's 2000 campaign team. He was also heavily involved with the Bush team's legal challenges in Florida following the contested 2000 election.

Earlier in Martin's career, he served as legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth. He also spent time working with Kenneth Starr's office in the Monica Lewinsky and Whitewater investigations. His wife, Catherine Martin, has served as vice president Dick Cheney's chief spokesperson and is now a special assistant to the president on economic matters.

According to the White House, Martin received his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina, his master's degree from Duke University, and his J.D. from Harvard University.