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Minority groups call on Sen.-elect Doug Jones to hire diverse staff

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A coalition of 16 minority groups has penned an open letter calling on Sen.-elect Doug Jones to hire a diverse staff as he begins his transition into office as Alabama’s next senator.

The letter, co-signed by the NAACP and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund, urges Jones to recognize the “profound lack of racial diversity that currently exists among staff in the U.S. Senate.”

According to a 2015 report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, people of color make up only 7.1 percent of top Senate staffers while 36 percent of the U.S. population is people of color.

“A diverse coalition is not only essential in securing electoral victories, but also fundamental in creating policy that fully represents the voices of Americans,” the letter reads.

The letter requests Jones embrace the Rooney Rule, a guideline that calls for his office to interview at least one person of color for every senior position. The Rooney Rule was adopted by the Senate Democratic Caucus earlier this year. It also calls on Jones to commit to hiring diverse candidates throughout his offices and to select a person of color for a senior staff position including chief of staff, legislative director and communications director.

“A diverse coalition is not only essential in securing electoral victories, but also fundamental in creating policy that fully represents the voices of Americans,” the letter reads.

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Among the other signers of the letter are the Asian Pacific American Institue for Congressional Studies, Diversity Matters, Inclusv, the National Action Network, the National Urban League and the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, among others.

Jones and his campaign, built on an unlikely alliance of crossover Republicans, women, black voters and millennials, delivered a shockingly solid defeat last week to Republican candidate former Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Several sexual assault allegations and questions about Moore’s pursuit of young women when he was in his 30s delivered a death blow to his campaign amid a national conversation about sexual misconduct, uniting moderate crossover Republicans with black voters, women and young voters who showed up and showed out for Jones.

According to exit polling conducted by CNN and other networks, 98 percent of black women and 93 percent of black men voted for Jones. Black voters, according to the same poll, made up about 30 percent percent of the voting population — a number that surpassed black turnout in 2008 and 2012 when former President Barack Obama was on the ballot.


Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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