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Rosenworcel Poetic About Capitol

Commissioner recalled her time working on the Hill

FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel
Jessica Rosenworcel, lower left, speaks during the commission’s January meeting.

The violence at the U.S. Capitol prompted some poetic words from Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel when the Federal Communications Commission met this week.

She made time in her remarks during the online meeting to talk about her feelings after the insurrection.

“The images of that day linger. They are hard to shake,” said Rosenworcel, who prior to the FCC was senior communications counsel for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

[Read: Newest Commissioner Urges Cooperation, Peaceful Transfer]

“I worked for many years in the Capitol. I know its towering heights, secluded corners and labyrinth hallways. But it’s not the loftiness of those spaces that I find most compelling. It’s what’s down below on the floors,” she said.

“I’ve traversed them too many times to count, heading back and forth, clicking on the tiles in less-than-sensible work shoes. I think the most beautiful floor tiles in the Capitol are the mid-19th century encaustic mosaics. The clay is inlaid, so the colors in the tiles are especially vibrant and diverse. It’s like the metaphor for our union is right there on the ground. Even where these mosaic floors are uneven and worn, what strikes you most is the durability. They have survived so much in our history.

“History, of course, is always being written. The violence done to the Capitol last week is an especially ugly chapter. To see those sacred spaces desecrated stings. To see those gorgeous floors smeared with feces and hate hurts. To see the Confederate flag paraded across those tiles sears and burns. And to watch those disowning the hatred that brought us here when for too long they walked too casually alongside it is difficult.”

“It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.’ Now we have an opportunity to lean into the light.”

Wednesday’s FCC meeting also was the last for Chairman Ajit Pai and the first for Commissioner Nathan Simington.

Rosenworcel, a Democrat considered to be in the running as the next FCC chair, thanked Pai, a Republican, “for his years of public service” and praised him “for the work he has done to help keep those who work here safe during this pandemic. He went above and beyond to keep the staff of this agency informed and engaged in a time of real crisis.”