Pelosi, Democratic Leaders Announce House Democratic Diversity Initiative

Jun 14, 2017
Press Release

Contact: Ashley Etienne/Caroline Behringer, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Today, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic Leaders announced the development of a House Democratic Diversity Initiative.  The initiative, which will include a full-time dedicated staffer, focuses on increasing House Democratic workforce diversity and expanding opportunities for diverse candidates at all House staff levels.  As part of that effort, the initiative will maintain a database of highly qualified individuals for positions at all levels and aid in building relationships with outside organizations and institutions to recruit diverse candidates for House employment.  
“House Democrats take great pride in the fact that our Caucus is more than 50 percent minorities, women and LGBT Members,” said Leader Pelosi.  “We do so because we understand that the beauty is in the mix, and the diversity in our ranks is both a strength and a reflection of the American people it is our great honor to serve.  Our Committees and our Caucus will be strengthened by having the advice and expertise of staff, especially in senior positions, who themselves embody the diversity of America.  The House Democratic Diversity Initiative will help our Members build diverse staffs and strengthen our work on behalf of Americans of all backgrounds and perspectives.”

The initiative and its new full-time director will be coordinated and housed within the Committee on House Administration.  Ranking Member Robert A. Brady will coordinate its efforts with a Member Advisory Council, which will include members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, the Democratic Women’s Working Group, the Progressive Caucus, New Democrat Coalition and the Blue Dog Caucus.  Brady and the Member Advisory Council will work to select the initiative’s first director.  
"By helping to build an increasingly diverse staff for our Member and Committee offices, our Caucus will be strengthened by a wide range of experiences and knowledge by staff who are committed to doing their best work for the American people,” said Ranking Member Brady.  “The Director of this Initiative will work with our strong caucuses and their leadership to build the most productive tools to aid our Caucus in this effort.”

The Member Advisory Council will also work to develop recommended benchmarks for the initiative and guidance for Members’ offices on how to implement a recruitment policy similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior positions.  The Member Advisory Council will also evaluate any recommendations to the Committee on Organization, Study and Review regarding potential changes to the House Democratic Caucus rules to permanently codify the initiative and its goals.  

“The House Democratic Diversity Initiative is an important step we can take to ensure the Democratic Caucus reflects the growing diversity of our country,” said Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley.  “This initiative will be a valuable resource for our Members to build qualified staffs, including at the senior level, that that hail from all backgrounds.  As the representative for the most diverse district in the country, I know our communities are only made better and stronger when opportunities are expanded to all Americans – and that includes here in the halls of Congress.”

"Every workplace, especially the United States Congress, should reflect the diversity of our country,” said Caucus Vice Chair Linda T. Sánchez.  “Our diversity is our strength. The House Democratic Diversity Initiative will ensure that the members of the Democratic Caucus are able to better serve all the constituents we represent.  The diversity of voices and experiences in our legislative process will make the final product better for everyone in our country.”

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