Hill is One of Only Six Black Senate Legislative Directors
WASHINGTON — Today, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies commends U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) for hiring Leah Hill (pictured right) as legislative director in his personal office.
Hill is one of six current Black legislative directors in the U.S. Senate. Jasmine Dimitriou (Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)), Josh Delaney (Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA)), Ariel Marshall (Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)), Lauren Marshall (Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)), and Donni Turner (Senator Ossoff (D-GA)) are the other five.
Prior to her new position as legislative director, Ms. Hill served in several roles for Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) including legislative correspondent (Aug. 2014-March 2015), legislative aide (March 2015-Dec. 2016), legislative assistant (May 2017-Sep. 2019), and senior policy advisor (Sep. 2019-April 2021). Earlier in her career, she served as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC), and as a fellow for Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (2014). She is a graduate of Duke University and Dominican University.
According to Senate Democrats’ most recent annual survey on the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of their staff, in June 2020 Senator Booker’s personal office had the highest percentage of staffers of color (65 percent) among Senate Democrats.
“Senator Cory Booker continues to be a leader in hiring and promoting diverse talent to senior roles,” said Joint Center Senior Fellow of Diversity & Inclusion Dr. LaShonda Brenson. “Ms. Hill, who served as a teacher and has over eight years on Capitol Hill, will undoubtedly bring a fresh perspective to Senator Booker’s legislative agenda and priorities. I hope to see more Senators take leadership in hiring diverse and talented staff.”
“Senator Booker has been a champion of staff diversity since he took office, and we applaud him for continuing to hire staff that reflects his constituents,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton. “Ms. Hill is not only a Capitol Hill veteran, but worked as a teacher and organizer in the Obama administration, making her an incredible asset to Senator Booker’s team. The Senate as a whole still needs to address a lack of diversity among its staff, but we commend Senator Booker for showing strong leadership in hiring diverse staff.”
With the addition of Hill, African Americans account for 3.5 percent of the approximately 340 top Senate staffers in Washington, DC who serve as chiefs of staff, legislative directors, communications directors, or full committee staff directors (African Americans account for over 13 percent of the U.S. population).
Of the 12 Black top staff in the U.S. Senate, nine work for Democrats and three work for Republicans. Two of the three Republican top staffers are the only Black chiefs of staff in the Senate (Jennifer DeCasper who works for Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Brennen Britton who works for Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)).
To understand the problem of a lack of Hill staff diversity, why it matters, and solutions, click here.