Hill Diversity


Joint Center Sends Letter, Urges Senator-Elect Jones to Hire Diverse Staff

Joint Center and 16 Other Organizations
Urge Senator-Elect Doug Jones to
Increase Racial Diversity Among Staff in U.S. Senate

December 19, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and 16 other leading civil rights organizations sent a letter urging Senator-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) to commit to hiring a staff that reflects his constituents’ racial diversity.

A 2015 Joint Center report showed that people of color accounted for over 36 percent of the U.S. population, but only 7.1 percent of top Senate staffers in Washington, DC.

Currently, African Americans account for over 13 percent of the U.S. population and over 26 percent of Alabama’s population. By comparison, African Americans account for just over 2 percent of top Republican U.S. Senate staff and just over 1 percent of top Democratic U.S. Senate staff in Washington, DC.

The Joint Center and the other civil rights organizations asked the transition team of Senator-elect Doug Jones to make a commitment to diversity by taking the following steps:

  • Embracing the “Rooney Rule” by interviewing at least one person of color for every senior position;
  • Committing to hiring diverse candidates throughout his Alabama and Washington offices to ensure that the demographics of his staff reflect Alabama and the United States;
  • Committing to hiring at least one person of color for a senior staff role in his Washington D.C. office, defined as chief of staff, legislative director and communications director.

Spencer Overton, the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, stated:
“Senator-elect Doug Jones has an incredible opportunity to increase diversity among U.S. Senate staff. The Joint Center and many of our partners stand ready to work with Senator-elect Jones to identify a deep and broad pool of diverse candidates. We hope Senator-elect Jones takes key steps to open the door of opportunity for communities of color.”
To read the full letter, click here.
Click on the following to read coverage of our letter and the issue in AL.com and the Washington Post.
The letter was co-signed by the following organizations:
Asian Improv Arts Midwest
Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Diversity Matters
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
National Action Network
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)
NALEO Educational Fund
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)
National Urban League
OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates
South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)