FCC Commissioner Deborah Tate has left the agency, having packed up her office and gone to spend the holidays in her home state of Tennessee.
After three years at the commission, Tate said goodbye to colleagues and others during the December FCC meeting, which actually took place via a conference call, with the commissioners scattered across the country.
All of her colleagues praised Tate, including fellow GOP Commissioner Robert McDowell, who credited Tate with being "the voice of consensus at the commission." Tate "helped us to find middle ground on many of these complicated issues," he said.
A recent example of that role: She was seen by some observers as a crucial vote during the deliberations and lobbying over the merger of Sirius and XM.
Tate mentioned her participation in the 2008 World Radio Conference as one of her accomplishments and encouraged colleagues to become more involved in future global initiatives.
The former chairman and director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority was nominated to the FCC by President George W. Bush in late 2005 and confirmed by the Senate. She was renominated by Bush for a full five-year term in June 20 of 2007; however the Senate did not act on the confirmation and that's why she's leaving.
Her departure leaves the agency with four commissioners, evenly split along party lines.