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Guest Commentary

Klapp: Keep the FCC out of politics


Every time Arizonans turn on their televisions, divisiveness is thrust upon them by national media, national politicians, and national unelected officials. But there is more that unites us than divides us here in our state. We come together on a number of important issues that are at the center of toxic Washington politics.

The unelected officials that operate the federal government do not seem to reflect those Arizona interests, but rather represent — and even contribute to — the division and dysfunction happening in Washington, D.C.

Working together, across political party and ideological lines, was something I learned and embraced in my 12 years of service on the Scottsdale City Council. While our municipal elections in Scottsdale are nonpartisan, it was no secret that I was a mainstream Republican that sought to make our city a better place economically through common sense fiscal policy, job creation, and workforce development.

To accomplish those goals, I built bridges with other elected officials and key stakeholders, and we accomplished a lot together. I worked closely with city officials who were expected to stay out of politics and administer their offices objectively.

If Arizonans spoke out against President Joe Biden’s divisive political appointees with a collective voice, it could help our elected officials — namely Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly — make informed decisions on whether to rubber stamp unelected government bureaucrats who exert vast amounts of unchecked power in our nation’s capital.

One such nominee, Gigi Sohn, embodies the concerning upward trend in divisiveness. Sohn has been nominated three times to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates radio, television, satellite, and cable communications in the United States.

Sohn’s previous attempts to be confirmed by the United States Senate stalled for lack of support attributed in large part to her controversial political stances, which range from backing “defund the police” efforts, to supporting the invasion of privacy through a means termed “cancel culture,” and by claiming that an entire media outlet is a danger to democracy.

She is opposed by large tribal communities, including the Navajo Nation in Arizona, for her hostility toward the dire need for access to broadband in rural communities. Tribal lands occupy some of the most rural parts of the country.
Law enforcement groups have raised issues about Sohn’s mindset, and the Fraternal Order of Police has stated that her “…social media, public policy stances, and employment history have indicated serious animus towards law enforcement officers and the rule of law.”

Our state’s senators have rejected the controversial anti-police movement that came to prominence in recent years, and they have avoided the cancel culture rhetoric that ostracizes individuals. They demonstrate that they represent all Arizonans from urban communities and rural areas. They understand that freedom of speech is not an idle term but one embodied as a cornerstone in our constitution.

Arizona should demand the highest form of integrity, ethics, and objectivity from our public servants, whether elected or appointed. Gigi Sohn notably misses those marks. She does not deserve to control America’s communication channels.

While I’m hopeful that Sohn or the Biden administration will come to their senses and withdraw her name from nomination, I believe our two Arizona senators have committed their public careers to demand that appointed government officials demonstrate respect and understanding of the needs of all Arizona residents as well as those in other states.