Democratic NY state senator Chuck Schumer has been obsessed with diversifying hill staff, and will seek to rectify the problem by proposing regulations and changes that will require departments to interview at least one minority for senior positions and staff openings in the future.
Politico reports, “The Democratic leader has also vowed to publish official diversity statistics from Senate offices on the website of the Senate Diversity Initiative, which hosts a resume bank for potential Senate staffers of color and will be the subject of beefed-up efforts to work with every individual Democratic Senate office on diverse hiring practices.”
These efforts come after the left and minority groups have repeatedly called out the white staff members and blamed it on racist hiring practices.
Politico has more:
The efforts follow intense criticism from interest groups and minority staffers regarding the paltry share of non-white Senate Democratic staff. Several studies, including a 2015 report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, have exposed a severe demographic disconnect between the party’s policymakers in Washington and its core constituencies in the states.
The report found that just 7 percent of top Senate staffers (counting chiefs of staff, legislative directors, communications directors, and committee staff directors) were people of color. It also noted that while African-Americans provided nearly one-quarter of the Democratic Party’s votes, only one top Senate Democratic staffer was black.
“We must ensure Senate be more reflective of our country’s diverse population,” Schumer said in a statement. “Expanding the diversity initiative, following the Rooney rule and dedicating ourselves to increasing diversity are important steps we can take to help achieve that goal and better serve our country.”
Schumer has already announced the new initiatives to several interested parties, including a group of minority lobbyists that had been working to improve diversity in the Senate and at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, where the group met with Schumer two weeks ago. Schumer also publicized the effort a gathering of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators earlier this month.
Schumer’s office is still working with Senate legal advisers to figure out exactly how to survey office diversity and post results, but promoters of the new measures see the official statistics as a centerpiece of the plan.
They previously relied on outside research, like the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report, for hard numbers on the Senate’s diversity problem. But the data to be gathered and posted at the Senate Diversity Initiative, which is headed by newly hired director Lorenzo Olvera, will provide some official measure of whether diversity efforts are making a difference.