Hill Diversity

Joint Center Senior Researcher Interviewed by MinnPost About Lack of Diversity in Top Staff Jobs

Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson was quoted and her research was cited in a MinnPost article about how all of Minnesota’s members of the House filled their top D.C. office jobs with white staffers, exclusively.

According to Dr. Brenson, “diversity on Capitol Hill has always been a challenge,” for several reasons.

Dr. Brenson said one is the “low compensation” many staffers receive to work in Congress, as opposed to similar jobs in the private sector, Brenson said. That makes it hard for many Capitol Hill staffers to make ends meet in a high cost-of- living place like Washington, D.C. Then there’s the “culture” of Capitol Hill, where Ivy League graduates are overrepresented. A report by the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion, established by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in 2019, found that more than 42% of all staffer childhood caregivers held graduate degrees, an indication of high socioeconomic status. Another 34% of the caregivers had associate or bachelor’s degrees.

Joint Center research on congressional staff diversity was cited in the article, outlining current diversity trends in the House.

Read the article in MinnPost here.