Senate Democrats Release Latest Diversity Initiative Results: Progress But More To Do

Kimberly Redmond  |

Image: Sen. Cory Booker. Source: Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative

Democratic senators reported having more than 38% of staff members who identify as “non-Caucasian,” up 3.5% from 2020, according to the latest data from the Senate’s Democratic Diversity Initiative. 

The annual survey, launched in 2017, is part of the caucus’s ongoing diversity initiative aimed at building a workforce that better reflects the makeup of the country. It includes breakdowns of race, ethnicity and gender, as well as percentage of staff who identify as LGBTQ.

Following its release, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) noted that “some significant progress” occurred over the past year.

He said, however, “Much work remains to increase congressional staff diversity and ensure that every voice is heard and adequately represented in the halls of Congress.”

Survey Takeaways

  • The most diverse staffs were those of Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii (73%), Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico (71%) and Raphael Warnock of Georgia (70%)
  • Senate offices with the least diversity were those of Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (7%), Patrick Leahy of Vermont (8%) and Angus King of Maine (8%)
  • The most diverse Senate committee was Indian Affairs (100%), with Judiciary in second place (56%)
  • Sen. Patty Murray of Washington once again reported the highest percentage of LGBTQ staff (27%)
  • Some 14% of Democratic Senate staffers identify as LGBTQ

Since Democrats began conducting the survey five years ago, there has been an increase in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation among Senate Democratic committee staffers, according to the data.

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association praised “the continued progress for diverse staff in Democratic Senate offices in a year of transition,” but said it believes the numbers show “a great deal of work is still needed to recruit and retain AAPI staff at all levels, especially in developing the pipeline for senior positions,” Politico reported.

A Congressional Hispanic Staff Association board member told the media outlet that more must be done to help Hispanics and Latino staff get hired and thrive in the workplace.

Republicans do not issue any data on staff demographics, and GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s office has declined to comment on efforts to gauge diversity levels.

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