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Groups want Senator-elect Doug Jones to hire a diverse staff

Doug Jones

By Frederick H. Lowe

It’s payback time and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies sees an opening.

Black men and women went to the polls in huge numbers to elect Doug Jones, a Democrat to the U.S. Senate from Alabama.

Now the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank for black elected officials, has signed a letter with other organizations encouraging Jones to hire a diverse Senate staff, which is sadly lacking among Democratic-elected officials.

“The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and 16 other leading civil rights groups sent a letter urging Senator-elect Doug Jones to commit to hiring a staff that reflects his constituents’ racial diversity,” said the letter dated December 19th. “In Alabama, blacks account for more than 26 percent of the state’s population.

The Joint Center noted that people of color accounted for more 36 percent of the U.S. population but only 7.1 percent of top Senate staffers in Washington, D.C.

African Americans account for just over 1 percent of top Democratic U.S. Senate staff in Washington, D.C. and just over 2 percent of top Republican U.S. Senate staff.

Spencer Overton

Top Senate staffers manage the Senate’s legislative agenda and shape the $3.9 trillion U.S. federal budget. They also oversee the Senate confirmation process for federal judges, cabinet secretaries and U.S. ambassadors.

“Senator-elect Doug Jones has an incredible opportunity to increase diversity among U.S. Senate staff,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center.  “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.”

Some of groups that signed the letter include the NAACP, Lawyers for Civil Rights Under Law, the South Asian Fund for Education, Scholarship and Training and the National Action Network.

 

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