The OPIA Blog

Diversity among staff on the Hill rising slowly but changes may be coming

An internal congressional survey was conducted back in 2009 to look at diversity on Capitol Hill and they shared some surprising (or perhaps not so surprising) statistics: While diversity on the Hill was up, it was up by a paltry 2.5 percent from 2003.

This recent Roll Call article showed how there have been some efforts to increase diversity, from holding panel discussions to setting up networking events, to address the issue. But, as the article also highlights, there isn’t an fully established method of bringing in diverse staff.

While The events are a good starting point, as sharing information has been key as well as giving minority staffers a building block, but as Amanda Renteria, Chief of Staff for Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) points out, “You don’t even know these jobs exist, and then you don’t even know how to get there,” Renteria said. “And then you get here and now what do you do?”

Congressional offices are working towards seriously addressing the matter, and it is clear that some offices are addressing the issue better than others. Debbie Stabenow’s office has a great deal of minority representation as well as Representative Mike Honda (D-Calif) who has the most minority representation in his Hill office. These offices are the exceptions, however, and it is apparent that there is still a long way to go.