Farewell Comments of Commissioner Chong
at FCC Agenda Meeting
October 9, 1997

It looks like this is going to be my last "aloha" to my fellow Commissioners, the wonderful FCC staff, and the Washington communications community.

Before I got this job, when I sat in the "cheap seats" out in the audience as a young lawyer practicing before the FCC, I used to wonder what it would be like to be an FCC Commissioner. I can report to you that while it has been exhausting, it's been a heady experience. It's been the biggest but most wonderful challenge of my life. I feel very fortunate to have been a member of this Commission at this historic time.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 may be one of the most important pieces of legislation passed this century, and this agency was charged with setting up the new environment for competition. Setting up fair rules of competition was not easy. I will remember my time at the Commission as being one big reading list. I used to read big thick FCC items everywhere -- at the office, at home, even on the beach when I was supposed to be "on vacation." But despite those late nights and all the stress, it was all worthwhile -- because we were making good, solid decisions that will better the lives of all Americans.

Mere words cannot express how proud I am of what this Commission and the industry accomplished together. I wish Commissioner Ness, the new Chairman, my friend Bill Kennard, and our other successors the best in continuing our efforts.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made my time at the Commission such a rewarding experience. I would first like to thank Chairman Hundt. We have been good friends -- and fierce adversaries. I am proud to have served with you, Mr. Chairman.

And to Commissioner Quello. What can I say about him? He's been the most fantastic FCC Commissioner ever, gracing this scene with dedication for 23 years. He's been active to the end, continuing to engage on issues up to last night.

And to Commissioner Ness, who will be remaining to be a guiding light to the next Commission. She is a tremendously hard worker, and has often served an important role as a consensus builder.

I also wanted to mention former Commissioner Barrett, with whom I worked for over a year. He taught me a great deal, and for that I am grateful.

We should be proud of our record and what we accomplished together. I also want to thank their devoted staffs, with whom we have always worked well.

Let me next thank the loyal and dedicated staff of the FCC. From the mailroom on up to the bureau chiefs, there is no better group of federal employees anywhere. We could not have achieved what we did without you. It has been a privilege to know you, to work with you, and to be a part of your "family."

I also wanted to thank the entire telecommunications community -- the industry, the associations, and press. It was a great pleasure to work with all of you.

And finally, if you will indulge me, I would like to thank Team Chong. I have had the luxury of an outstanding personal staff through the years, and I wanted to thank each of them for devoted service above and beyond the call of duty. They sacrificed much of their personal lives over the years to serve me and serve the public interest. It was greatly appreciated.

Finally, I wanted to announce today that, upon my successor being confirmed and sworn in, my husband and I will be leaving Washington to return to our home in San Francisco. I plan to take some time off to rest and hopefully recover some brain cells that were lost during the access charge reform, universal service and interconnection dockets. . . After that, I will be thinking about my future. I have made no decisions yet because I wanted to conclude my government service first. I hope our paths will cross again, my friends. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.