FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 13, 2022
Senators Padilla, Hirono, and Booker Have Most Diverse Staff; Over 22 Percent of Senate Democratic Committee Offices Have No Black Staff
Joint Center Ranks Senators Based on 2022 Senate Democratic Diversity Data
WASHINGTON — The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies commends Senate Democrats for releasing their sixth annual survey on racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation/gender identity diversity of their staff. To date, Senate Republican offices have not released staff demographic data.
Our analysis includes 22 graphs detailing the rankings of the top three personal and committee offices with racially diverse staff and shows the personal offices with the most Black, Latina/o, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and women staff.
Of the 50 Democratic Senate personal offices, 35 reported an increase in the percentage of staff who identify as nonwhite, 11 reported a decrease, and four remained unchanged. Of the 35 Senate Democratic personal offices who observed an increase, only 31 percent observed an increase of more than five percentage points.
See below for the four charts and click here for the full analysis by Joint Center Senior Fellow of Diversity and Inclusion Dr. LaShonda Brenson.
“It’s encouraging to see Senate Democrats continue to show transparency in disclosing the percentage of top staff of color in their offices and the increase of staff diversity in 35 offices,” said Dr. Brenson. “While I applaud Senators Padilla, Hirono, and Booker for having 67 percent or more people of color in their staff, there is still room for growth for Senators who have retained fewer people of color on their staff since last year, particularly the Senate committees. Senate Democrats should also disaggregate its data to show how many top positions are held by people of color. We applaud the Senate Democrats’ leadership on staff diversity and look forward to working with them more on this issue.”
Since 2015, the Joint Center’s congressional staff diversity program has researched and disseminated information on the importance of having a diverse congressional staff. Our findings can be found in our following reports: Racial Diversity Among Top Senate Staff (2015), Racial Diversity Among Top House Staff (2018), Racial Diversity Among Top Staff in Senate Personal Offices (2020), and Racial Diversity Among Senate Committee Top Staff (2021).
Congress has since taken steps to improve transparency and staff diversity. For the past five years, Senate Democrats led the chamber by releasing racial/ethnic data about the staff in Democratic Senators’ personal and committee offices. Senate Democrats, however, have not disclosed the diversity of top staff.
Senators should follow the lead of the U.S. House of Representatives by establishing an Office of Diversity and Inclusion that develops a diversity plan that focuses on recruiting, hiring, training, promoting, and retaining a diverse Senate staff. In May, the Joint Center, Demand Progress, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund prepared and submitted testimony for the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee urging it to create an independent Senate OD&I office.
About the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, provides compelling and actionable policy solutions to eradicate persistent and evolving barriers to the full freedom of Black people in America. We are the trusted forum for leading experts and scholars to participate in major public policy debates and promote ideas that advance Black communities. We use evidence-based research, analysis, convenings, and strategic communications to support Black communities and a network of allies.