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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

September 21, 1998


John Nakahata, Chief of Staff to Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard, announced today that he intends to step down as Chief of Staff by October 31. Nakahata said, "It's been a great privilege for the past three and a half years to participate in the Commission's deliberations on the many issues in communications policy, but the time has come for me to spend more time with my family."

"I am extremely grateful to John for the wisdom, counsel and insight he has given me," said Chairman Kennard. "He has an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of an issue, simultaneously seeing the big picture and the critical details. He has a strong grasp of the relationship between law, economics, technology and the public interest. He has been invaluable in working through the most difficult issues the Commission has faced. He is someone that people trust and respect. The entire Commission, and I in particular, will miss him."

Prior to becoming Chief of Staff last November, Nakahata served as Legal Adviser and Senior Legal Adviser to then-Chairman Reed E. Hundt; Chief of the Competition Division of the Office of General Counsel; and Deputy Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau. As a legal adviser to Chairman Hundt, Nakahata specialized in mass media, cable, and common carrier issues. During his tenure at the agency, he has been a key advisor on the most challenging issues facing the FCC. Following enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Nakahata was one of the principal architects of the Commission's "trilogy" of interconnection, universal service, and access reform decisions. He led negotiation of the Federal-State Universal Service Joint Board Recommended Decision that formed the foundation for the Commission's Universal Service Order. Nakahata also headed staff development of the "precluded competitor" doctrine and the pro-competitive analytical framework for merger analysis adopted by the Commission in the landmark Bell Atlantic/NYNEX decision. Before joining the FCC, he served for five years as a legislative aide to Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT).

Nakahata said that he has not yet set future plans.

Chairman Kennard said that he plans to announce a successor in the near future.

Nakahata lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Pamela Smith, and two daughters, Eileen, 3, and Maura, 18 months. He is a native of San Francisco, California. Nakahata is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Wesleyan University.