Jonathan S. Adelstein was nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July, 2009, to serve as the 17th Administrator of USDA's Rural Utilities Service. He was previously confirmed unanimously twice by the Senate to serve as Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission from 2002 to 2009.
As RUS Administrator, Adelstein oversees a $60 billion portfolio of rural electric, water and telecommunications infrastructure loans. As part of the Recovery Act of 2009, he spearheaded the investment of $3.5 billion in rural broadband expansion to create jobs and provide new or improved broadband service to 7 million residents, businesses and community facilities. Adelstein also simultaneously managed the investment of over $3 billion in Recovery Act loans and grants in the repair and upgrade of rural water and waste systems. He leads RUS's $6 billion rural electric program to modernize the electric grid, and has expanded investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart grid. Since his appointment, he has travelled to over 40 states to manage and highlight the improvements RUS is making on the ground to U.S. infrastructure systems.
Adelstein serves on the White House Business Council, leading Council meetings with local business leaders across America. Adelstein also serves as a member of the White House National Science and Technology Council, which coordinates science and technology policy across the federal government.
Adelstein has long been a strong advocate for expanding broadband and improving rural telecommunications. On the FCC, he sought to secure access to communications for everyone, including those left behind by the market. He fought for media diversity and localism, encouraging increased public access to the media to support free expression and a well-informed citizenry.
Before joining the Commission, Adelstein served for fifteen years as a staff member in the United States Senate. During his final seven years on Capitol Hill, he served as a senior legislative aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, advising him on technology, telecommunications, financial services, budget, housing, transportation and other key issues. Previously, he served as a legislative advisor to Senator David Pryor of Arkansas, and Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. of Michigan.
Prior to his service in the Senate, Adelstein was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of History, Harvard University, while studying at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Adelstein also was a Teaching Assistant in the Department of History, Stanford University. He received an M.A. in History and a B.A. with Distinction in Political Science from Stanford. He also served as a Communications Consultant at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover.
Adelstein was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota.