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Pallone & Doyle Provide GOP Eight Witnesses For September Net Neutrality Hearing to Ensure Diverse Perspectives

Aug 3, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Doyle (D-PA) today wrote to Republican Committee leaders with a list of eight additional witnesses that they say should be added for the full committee hearing on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality hearing.  The two Democratic Committee leaders wrote that it is the responsibility of the Minority to balance the panel of witnesses at hearings before the committee.

“While we appreciate you scheduling a hearing to look at how the FCC is eliminating the ground rules for the internet ecosystem, we continue to believe that the witness list must be expanded beyond the Chief Executive Officers of eight large corporate interests,” wrote Pallone and Doyle.  “In order to ensure that members of the Committee hear a broad variety of views from a more diverse group of people other than just CEOs, we have selected eight people to be invited that are prepared to testify and provide the Committee with their perspectives on the impact of the FCC’s actions.”

Pallone and Doyle have selected the following individuals to be invited to testify:

  • Jonathan Jackson is a co-founder and the Head of Corporate Branding for Blavity, a fast-growing media startup and digital community that aims to empower Black millennials and amplify the voices of young people of color through its written, video, and social content.  Beyond his own entrepreneurial endeavors, Mr. Jackson assists other businesses by consulting and advising senior business leaders on content, digital strategy, and partnership development.
  • Ruth Livier is an actress, writer, and doctoral student who is a pioneer in the fight for equal representation in media.  Her writing has earned her the distinct honor of being the first-ever writer admitted to the Writer’s Guild of America for work in digital media.
  • Jesse Vollmar is co-founder and CEO of FarmLogs, a startup in the agricultural sector whose software development helps growers to maximize yields and increase profits. While studying Computer Information Systems in college, Mr. Vollmar’s background in farming led him to realize that the state of the art technology being developed today was not reaching farmers.
  • Myrna Morales is an expert in library science in Boston whose experience entails website maintenance, internal technology system support, and integration of new technology into community organizations and governmental agencies.  Ms. Morales also worked in urban public school systems—notably in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, and Boston—as a reading and algebra teacher, and as a director of after-school programs.
  • Johari Farrar is a performer with the Truthworker Theater Company.  She was accepted to Temple University’s School of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts.  Ms. Farrar was unable to afford tuition, but by posting her work on social media she was able to attract donors that helped her pay her tuition through online crowdfunding.
  • Brandi Collins is the Senior Campaign Director for Media and Economic Justice at Color of Change, the largest online racial justice organization in the United States.  Ms. Collins previously worked at the Safer Foundation as a public policy associate focusing on issues related to workforce development, community capacity building, and prisoner reentry.
  • Steven Renderos is the Organizing Director at the Center for Media Justice, where he works to improve access and representation in media and technology for communities of color, low-income families, and LGBT communities.  Mr. Renderos has worked for more than seven years in community organizing and training, and more than ten years in filmmaking and media production.  He used to host a radio show called Radio Pocho at a community radio station in Minneapolis.
  • Bryan Mercer is the Executive Director of Media Mobilizing Project, where he leads a number of collaborative efforts with partner institutions that aim to enhance digital literacy and broaden internet access.  Mr. Mercer’s work using strategic media and communications aims to connect communities organizing for their human rights.

Today’s letter follows a letter sent last week to Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in which Pallone and Doyle expressed their concern that the initial witness list for the hearing ignored important perspectives from small business owners, consumers, and others on the FCC’s efforts to dismantle net neutrality protections.

Full text of the letter can be found here.