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Joint Center Applauds Democratic Leader Pelosi’s Letter on Staff Diversity

On November 9, the Joint Center issued the following statement in the wake of Nancy Pelosi’s letter addressing diversity on the Hill. Her letter comes after the Joint Center’s September 2018 report, Racial Diversity Among Top House Staff.

On November 9, the Joint Center issued the following statement in the wake of Nancy Pelosi’s letter addressing diversity on the Hill. Her letter comes after the Joint Center’s September 2018 report, Racial Diversity Among Top House Staff.

WASHINGTON – The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies today applauded Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s letter to her Democratic House colleagues emphasizing the importance of staff diversity in the 116th Congress. Leader Pelosi’s letter elevates recommendations that the Joint Center included in its September report on racial diversity among top staff in the U.S. House.

“Leader Pelosi deserves credit for laying down an early marker on the need to take action to increase top staff diversity in Congress,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton. “This is a good start, and we look forward to continuing to work with Leader Pelosi to diversify congressional top staff.”

In the letter, Leader Pelosi encouraged Members and Committees to hire diverse staff. She also announced her hope that the Democratic Caucus would formally adopt the Rooney Rule, which requires interviewing at least one person of color for every top staff position opening, such as chief of staff, legislative director, communications director, and committee staff director. She also acknowledged Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern’s proposal for a permanent House Diversity Initiative as part of the Rules package on opening day.

“The incoming majority of the U.S. House of Representatives will be the most diverse in our nation’s history,” said Don Bell, Director of the Black Talent Initiative at the Joint Center. “Leader Pelosi’s letter is a good beginning toward the work ahead to ensure that the senior and mid-level staff of the U.S. House reflect the diversity of America.”

The Joint Center published a report in September 2018 that found that although people of color account for 38 percent of the U.S. population, they account for only 13.7 percent of the top staffers of the U.S. House of Representatives (161 out of 1174 top staffers).

About Joint Center

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1970 and based in Washington, DC. The Joint Center's mission is to inform and illuminate the nation's major public policy debates through research, analysis, and information dissemination in order to improve the socioeconomic status of Black communities in the United States; expand their effective participation in the political and public policy arenas; and promote communication and relationships across racial and ethnic lines to strengthen the nation's pluralistic society.