Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rick Boucher Loses House Seat 11/02/2010 San Francisco - Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA-09), Chairman of one of the two most important committees on Capitol Hill framing American telecommunications policy and federal funding strategies for the sector, has lost his seat in the U.S. House.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA-09), Chairman,
House Subcommittee on Communications,
Technology and the Internet.
According to an Associated Press report out of Boucher's home state of Virginia, the fourteen term Representative from the rural southwestern Virginia Ninth District was defeated in balloting today by Republican challenger Morgan Griffith (R-VA). Griffith is the current Majority Leader of the Virginia House.  

Boucher, who has served on the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet since the 1980s, rose to become Chairman of the Subcommittee in this Congress as long term Charmain Ed Markey (D-MA-09) moved to head the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. 

Democratic concern for incumbent Members of Congress in the Old Dominion had most recently centered on Freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA-05) in the district adjacent to Boucher's to the east. President Obama campaigned for Perriello, who was also defeated today, in the Virginia Fifth within the past week. As champion political prognosticator Nate Silver wrote within the past hour, Boucher had been seen "as a slight favorite" to win a fifteenth term in the House.

As the Democrats now go into the minority in the House, speculation turns to Markey to take over the position of ranking member on the Subcommittee, a position he held when the GOP last had control of the chamber.

Our Take: A young man testifying to the Subcommittee 1989 was made to feel at ease by the accent, familiar visage, and steady hand of a fellow Bostonian serving as Chairman, and by a true gentleman from Virginia asking the most incisive questions with the utmost courtesy. Along with the then Chairman, Ed Markey, Rick Boucher would be instrumental in supporting what we from the public interest groups representing consumers and the cities were then pushing for: Competition for the cable industry from telcos. Today that is ancient history. Today that competitive environment, previously illegal under federal law, is a fact of economic life which fuels the entire broadband-enabled sector of our nation. It is so largely because of Rick Boucher. 

In succeeding years, Markey and Boucher would become the workhorses without whom the Telecom Act of 1996, and the subsequent recapitalization of the U.S. telecom infrastructure, would not have been possible. America's leadership in high technology is intimately related to that regulatory innovation. We leave it to others as to how and why someone who has added so much to our country, and to his own district, can be turned out of office by the constituents he served.

For now, we fondly recall some ancient history: 
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