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Joint Center Applauds U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Appointment of Black Woman as Chief of Staff

December 27, 2018
Contact: press@jointcenter.org

The Joint Center Applauds U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Appointment of Black Woman as Chief of Staff
WASHINGTON – Today, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies commended U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her appointment of Anne Reid as chief of staff. Reid is currently the only Black woman serving as chief of staff to a Democratic U.S. Senator. The Boston Globe reported the appointment this morning.

“Black women play a critical role in our democracy, and Senator Warren’s appointment of a talented staffer like Anne Reid recognizes that Americans from all backgrounds can serve in a leadership role at the highest levels of government. Other Senators and House Members should take notice,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center. “More than 300 top staff positions are being filled during the transition into the 116th Congress, and over the next few weeks Members have an opportunity to start to fix the lack of diversity among top staff in Congress. They should also adopt policies to help ensure all talent is recognized, such as annual disclosure of staff demographics by position, interviewing at least one person of color for every top and mid-level position opening (the “Rooney Rule”), factoring a Member’s staff diversity into committee assignments, unconscious bias training for staff, and setting up a chamber-wide diversity office to support Members.”

“We commend Senator Warren for increasing staff diversity among chiefs of staff,” said Don Bell, Director of the Black Talent Initiative at the Joint Center. “As we have seen so far during this hiring season, the face of senior staff in the House and Senate is changing because of Members who recognize that it is not enough to have diversity in electoral coalitions. Diversity and inclusion must be the centerpiece of policymaking. It starts with staff.”

In 2015, the Joint Center issued a report, Racial Diversity Among Top Senate Staff, finding that African Americans accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population and 22 percent of those who identified as Democratic voters, but less than 1 percent of top Senate staffers (only one was a chief of staff—Jennifer DeCasper in the office of Tim Scott (R-SC)). Currently, the only Black Senate chiefs of staff are Reid, DeCasper, Dana Gresham in the office of Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), and Brennen Britton in the office of Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS). Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has a Black woman who is serving as his acting chief of staff (Tamia Booker) while the chief is out on paternity leave.

On December 14, the Joint Center launched an interactive tool to track new top staff hires in the 116th Congress. According to the Joint Center’s tool, seven Black chiefs of staff were hired by newly-elected and returning Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 116th Congress between November 2018 and December 21, 2018.