Serving South Dakota Through National Leadership

As a public utilities commissioner I am a member of a national association of my counterparts from around the country called the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners or NARUC. In 2013 our national president appointed me chairman of the association’s Committee on Telecommunications.

The chairmanship involves the typical responsibilities of organizing biweekly conference calls and educational sessions when we meet in person. More importantly it allows me to lead our association’s efforts in guiding the telecommunications policy decisions being made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress as well as legal decisions made by federal courts.

We are in an era where the FCC routinely attempts to move jurisdiction for telecommunication decisions from the state level to Washington. My association stands firm in opposition to those attempts believing that state lawmakers and utility commissioners are closer to the people of their states and better positioned to make policy decisions and provide consumer protections for the people of their states.

Federal telecommunications policy ultimately shapes the ability of companies in South Dakota to provide services including broadband availability to the people of our state. One of my priorities as committee chairman has been to highlight the continued need to support broadband expansion in rural America.

It is an honor to continue working for South Dakota through leadership at the national level.

The accompanying photo is from a NARUC meeting in which I led a telecommunications policy discussion with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.