A native of Stockton, California, Rachelle Chong graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley in 1981 with degrees in Journalism and Political Science. In 1984, she received her law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law and was admitted to the California State Bar. She was the editor-in-chief of Comm/Ent Law Journal at Hastings College of the Law.
She began her legal career in Washington, D.C. in 1984, practicing before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) representing broadcasters and early cellular telephone applicants. She returned to California in 1986 and practiced communications law with Graham & James before the California PUC in San Francisco. She became a partner of Graham & James in 1991.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Ms. Chong to the Federal Communications Commission. She is proud to be the first Asian American to serve as an FCC commissioner. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May 1994 and served until November 1997. Commissioner Chong served at the FCC during the passage and implementation of the historic Telecommunications Act of 1996, the first wireless spectrum auctions, finalization of digital television rules, children’s television proceeding, and the provision of many new wireless and satellite services. She also represented the FCC at numerous international diplomatic meetings, including the World Radio Conference and APEC, particularly in the Asia region. She also served on the Joint Board on Universal Service to implement E-rate and other universal service program changes contained in the 1996 Act.
After her FCC service, Ms. Chong practiced law with Coudert Brothers in San Francisco and Palo Alto. In 2000, she joined a start up venture in Silicon Valley as General Counsel and Vice President, Government Affairs. She next became an entrepreneur, starting a retail Italian jewelry store and an ecommerce website from 2001-2006 with her husband.
In January 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Ms. Chong to be a Commissioner of the CPUC. The first Asian American CPUC Commissioner, she began her three year term on January 12, 2006. In December 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger reappointed Ms. Chong to the CPUC for a six-year term. The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, telecommunications, natural gas, water and transportation companies, in addition to household goods and rail safety. In November 2006, Commissioner Chong was nominated by the Governor to his Broadband Task Force. She is the Chair of the Board of Expert Advisors of the California Emerging Technology Fund. She serves on the Advisory Board of the California Telehealth Network. She is a member of the NARUC Telecommunications Committee.
She is married and has two school age twin daughters.