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For Immediate Release: January 2, 2014
Contact: Robert J. Thormeyer, 202-898-9382, rthormeyer@naruc.org

NARUC President Taps South Dakota's Chris Nelson to lead Telecommunications Committee

WASHINGTON-National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Colette Honorable of Arkansas appointed South Dakota Public Utilities Commission's Vice Chairman Chris Nelson as the Chair of the Association's Committee on Telecommunications.
Commissioner Nelson succeeds Vermont Commissioner John Burke whose term recently expired.  He is joining a strong Committee leadership team that includes Vice Chairs Paul Kjellander of Idaho and Catherine Sandoval of California.
The Committee on Telecommunications provides a venue for State commissioners to analyze trends in the telecommunications sector and share best regulatory practices. The Committee works closely with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, and the FBI. In addition, the committee passes resolutions on current issues that set NARUC policy.
"Vice Chairman Nelson is stepping up to serve his regulatory colleagues at a crucial time in the telecommunications sector," said President Honorable.  "He is quite literally stepping into the regulatory maelstrom as Congress is looking at FCC process reform and beginning the process of updating the federal telecommunications act. The FCC is poised to take up a number of significant issues in the near future, including competition, service quality, universal service reform, rural call completion problems, and several others.  I am confident that his unique background and perspective will add an important element to our strong leadership team. I also send my sincere thanks to Commissioner Burke for his tenure as the Chair.  He has been an energetic voice on a range of critical issues facing the telecommunications sector. NARUC and our nation's utility consumers are better off because of his service."
"I am honored and humbled by President Honorable's trust in this appointment," said Chair Nelson. "The telecommunications sector is experiencing dramatic change predominately because of regulatory policies emanating from Washington.   The NARUC Telecommunications Committee plays a key role in assuring Washington policy-makers are aware of the practical impact of their choices, particularly on consumers.  From rural call completion problems, to broadband expansion, to universal service contribution reform, the country is facing crucial issues that must be resolved.  Fortunately, the Telecommunications Committee has a lot of experienced Commissioners.   I look forward to working even more closely with my colleagues on the committee including Vice Chairs Kjellander and Sandoval.  I also echo President Honorable's  description of and thanks to outgoing Telecommunications Chairman Burke.  His considerable knowledge and expertise will continue to serve the Committee well."
Since his appointment to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission in January of 2011, Mr. Nelson,  currently the Vice Chairman of that commission, has been very active on the NARUC Telecommunications Committee - most recently serving as a member of the NARUC Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications. He was also recently nominated to serve on the FCC's Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service.
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NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.

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