Michael J. Copps was sworn in for his first term as commissioner on May 31, 2001; sworn in for a second term on January 3, 2006; and served until December 31, 2011. He also served as Acting FCC Chairman from January 22, 2009 through June 28, 2009.
Mr. Copps moved to Washington in 1970, joined the staff of Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) and served for over a dozen years as Hollings' Chief of Staff. Following his years with Hollings, Copps held positions in the private sector with a Fortune 500 company and a major trade association.
He returned to government following the election of President Bill Clinton, serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary, and then Assistant Secretary, for Trade Development at the U.S. Department of Commerce. While at Commerce, he worked to build public sector-private sector partnerships to improve global market access and market share for nearly every sector of American industry, including information technologies and telecommunications.
Dr. Copps, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, earned a B.A. degree from Wofford College in 1963 and a Ph.D. in United States History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Wofford College in 2005. Prior to locating in Washington, he taught U. S. History at Loyola University in New Orleans from 1967-1970.
His years at the Commission have been highlighted by his strong defense of "the public interest"; outreach to what he calls "non-traditional stakeholders" in the decisions of the FCC, particularly minorities, Native Americans and the various disabilities communities; and actions to stem the tide of what he regards as excessive consolidation in the nation's media and telecommunications industries.