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News Release
 
Commissioner Joan Smith Named Chair 
Of National Telecommunications Committee

 
October 14, 1999 (1999-044)
 
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ron Karten, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, Ore. – Oregon Public Utility Commissioner Joan H. Smith has been appointed Chair of the Telecommunications Committee for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). The appointment will be made official by a formal vote of the committee later this month. She will replace Montana Commissioner Bob Rowe on November 8, who resigns the post to become NARUC president.
 
Telecommunications is a key committee active in lobbying Congress and working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set national telecommunications rules implementing the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Topics covered by new rules include encouraging competitors to enter the local exchange market, supporting the use of advanced telecommunications services by schools, libraries and rural health care providers, and taking steps to eliminate slamming, which is when one telephone company takes another telephone company’s customer without proper authorization.
 
Commissioner Smith led the national effort to develop a set of "best practices" for handling applications that the 1996 Act requires the Bell companies, including U S WEST, to make in order to qualify to provide long distance service in the regions where they provide local service.
 
"I’m honored at being selected, and excited by the job ahead," said Commissioner Smith. "There is more happening in telecommunications today than at any time I can remember, but we have a very strong committee and we’re up to the challenge."
 
Commissioner Smith currently is Vice Chair of the committee and has served as Chair of the committee’s Policy Sub-Group for Regulatory Methodologies. Among her many other leadership positions, Commissioner Smith was Chair for three years of the U S WEST Regional Oversight Committee, which includes commissioners from the 14 states which U S WEST serves. She has been Chairman of the Focused Regulatory Impact Review Committee, which reviews U S WEST’s affiliated interests. She also chaired the GTE Tri-State Review, was President of the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners, and served on the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council.
 
Commissioner Smith is a member of the Federal-State Joint Board on Separations at the FCC, the Western Conference Committee on Natural Gas, and the Western Regional Electric Power Cooperation Committee. She has been a lecturer/presenter for Portland State and New Mexico State universities, and her articles have been published in Public Utilities Fortnightly and NRRI Quarterly.
 
Commissioner Smith’s public service work includes membership on the State Board of Forestry, the Lewis & Clark College Board of Trustees, the Portland Opera Board, the Portland Planning Commission, the Columbia River Gorge Commission, OMSI and the Portland City Club. She is a Senior Fellow at the American Leadership Forum.
 
Commissioner Smith has been a member of the Oregon PUC since 1990, served as Chair of the Commission from 1993-95, and was re-appointed in 1995.
 
"I’ve worked with Joan for seven years. She knows the issues as well as anyone in the telephone business," said Roger Hamilton, fellow commissioner at the Oregon PUC. "She is tough but fair, and will do a great job representing the nation’s state commissioners and telecom consumers."
 
 
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