Joint Center Praises Sen. Warner’s Choice For Legislative Director
In response to U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) recent hiring Lot Kwarteng as legislative director in his Capitol Hill office, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies issued the following statement:
“We commend U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner for hiring Lot Kwarteng as legislative director in his Capitol Hill office. Sen. Warner has shown a commitment to diverse top staff in hiring Mr. Kwarteng. Having Mr. Kwarteng in this top role will better position Sen. Warner to center the needs of people of color in policy and legislation,” said Dr. LaShonda Brenson, senior researcher at the Joint Center.
Recently The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington D.C. think tank for Black-elected officials, issued a public complaint about the low numbers of people of color hired for top staff positions in Congress.
The Center’s research indicated that only 5.1 percent of Blacks and 17.9 percent of people of color had been hired for the nation’s top jobs in the 118th Congress, which began meeting January 3, 2023.
Top staff positions include chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communication directors.
“These low numbers are concerning because people of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population, and Blacks account for 12.4 percent of the population,” the Joint wrote in “Update of Racial Diversity of the Top Staff Hires in 118th Congress.”
The Joint Center’s midterm hiring campaign microsite, which went live on November 2022, features several interactive tools monitoring staff of all new and returning members. More than 93.6 percent of the top positions – 1,499 of 1,602 – had already been filled as of February 17, 2023.
According to the Center, of the 1,011 top staff positions filled by returning House members, this number also lags behind the national population.
Returning Senate members’ counties also lag behind the diversity of the national population.
The 205 newly elected House members, continue to be behind the national population of 40.0 percent for people of color and Blacks.
Of the newly elected Senators, only diverse top staffers accounted for 8.3 percent, which is lower than the U.S. population.
According to Joint Center research, with this hiring, Kwarteng becomes one of five Black legislative directors in the U.S. Senate.
“Mr. Kwarteng, who has worked his way from an internship in Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) office more than a decade ago to most recently serving as the senior policy advisor for U.S. Sen. Deborah Stabenow (D-MI), will bring a valuable skill set to the role, and more importantly, will offer a critical inclusive lens to Sen. Warner’s legislative agenda.”
In making the announcement, Sen. Warner said, “I am thrilled to announce that Lot Kwarteng will serve as my next Legislative Director. Lot comes with extensive policy experience, a focus on collaboration, and an outcome-based attention to detail.
“I trust that his knowledge and background will serve him in successfully guiding the policy team as we work to see through the implementation of the landmark reforms enacted last Congress, and continue to seek out opportunities for bipartisan progress in the 118th Congress.”