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Joint Center Urges Members to Prioritize Diversity When Hiring Staff for New Congress
- While people of color account for 38 percent of the U.S. population, they made up only 13.7 percent of all top House staff.
- The American public was more likely to elect a person of color to the House than House Members were to hire top staff of color.
- 313 House Members have no people of color who serve in any of their following “top staff” positions: chief of staff, legislative director, communications director, or full committee staff director.
- Of the 350 White House Members, only 10 Republican Members and six Democratic Members have chiefs of staff of color.
- Much of the House Democrats’ top staff diversity comes from Congressional Black Caucus Members. Only 7.4 percent of top staff in the personal offices of White Democratic Members are people of color even though, on average, 37.4 percent of their districts are people of color.
- Only three percent of White Republican Members’ top staff are people of color even though these Members represent districts that are on average 26 percent people of color.
- There are no Latinos, Asian American Pacific Islanders, or Native Americans in any of the 40 committee staff director positions or in any of the 24 chief of staff, policy director, or communications director positions in leadership offices of Democrats or Republicans.
- Develop a written office diversity and inclusion plan that includes recruitment and hiring goals and retention strategies for diverse top staff (e.g., chief of staff, legislative director, communications director, staff director) and diverse key mid-level staff (e.g., legislative assistant, counsel, policy advisor, press secretary).
- Adopt the Rooney Rule, which requires interviewing at least one person of color for every top staff position and key mid-level staff position. Senate Democrats adopted this rule in 2017. House Democrats indicated a commitment to adopt the Rooney Rule in 2017, but have not yet adopted and implemented the rule.
Support proposals that will advance diversity when made by leadership (such as those below).