The Senate Needs to Represent the People It Serves
Doug Jones hasn't even been sworn in but already his historic election is providing benefits. Today, Senator-elect Jones announced his new Chef of Staff, Dana Gresham.
In 2015 there was only one Black Chief of Staff in the Senate. One year ago that number "doubled" to two, according to The New York Post's Shaun King.
Both work for Republicans.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was the first (at least in recent times, if ever) to hire a Black Chief of Staff. In 2017 Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) became the second.
Earlier today King tweeted:
GREAT NEWS!— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 2, 2018
Incoming Alabama Senator Doug Jones just became THE ONLY DEMOCRAT in the Senate to hire a Black Chief of Staff. This is the most important position on a Senate Staff.
He is going to officially name Dana Gresham later today. pic.twitter.com/kxApgGtBvV
African Americans literally represent just 1% of the senior staff members hired by Democrats in the Senate.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 2, 2018
This hire today should not have to be historic, but it is. It also needs to represent a turning point in how Democrats do business regarding staff hiring. https://t.co/ZoGvIw5mxi
Gresham is a former Obama appointee. He has a degree in International Politics from Georgetown, according to his LinkedIn bio, and was chief of staff to former Congressman Artur Davis.
It's embarrassing there are so few Blacks in leadership roles in the U.S. Senate.
Why is this important?
A 2015 study by The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies notes: "The lives of people of color are affected by federal budgets, education, workforce, immigration, sentencing, voting rights, federal confirmations, and countless other factors. Top U.S. Senate staff members play critical roles in shaping many of these issues."
Let's hope other Senators – of both parties – get the message.
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