CHSA- Congressional Hispanic Staff Association

Diversity on the Hill

ICYMI: Diversity Efforts on the Hill

On December 15, 2016, the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association, alongside other representatives of Congressional Staff Associations, met with Democratic Leader Senator Schumer to discuss diversity issues among Congressional staff. This meeting was organized by the President of CHSA, Veronica Duron, Senator Schumer’s main advisor on this issue. CHSA was represented by Francisco Bencosme, Vice President of CHSA. CHSA emphasized the following recommendations as important initiatives to help diversify Congressional staff:

  1. Rooney Rule – Create a Democratic Caucus expectation that when an office has an opening they interview candidates of color. This is especially important and should be followed every time when interviewing for chief of staff, staff director, communications director and legislative director and any other senior staff position. This message should be elevated at the member level.
  2. Paid Internships – Replicate the success of organizations in the philanthropic sector, as well as government agencies and nonpartisan organizations, and create paid internship and fellowship opportunities for people of color on Capitol Hill. Paid internships are an important way for people of color to be able to gain experience and access to positions on Capitol hill.
  3. Data Collection – Create transparent reporting requirements and data collection that accurately shows the diversity of Senate offices.
  4. Senior Mentorship Program — The Senate Diversity Initiative should identify 5-10 senior leaders in each community and cultivate them to fill future senior positions in the U.S. Senate. Mentorship helps candidates of color break into these traditionally non-diverse networks that require leadership and initiative from the Senate Diversity Initiative led by the Senate Democratic Leader.
  5. Create mandatory bias interrupters and implicit bias training for all hiring managers in Senate offices.
  6. Support a Diversity Office in the Senate.
    1. Meet quarterly with a liaison from each of the Congressional Staff Associations to discuss office hiring.
    2. Work with Senate offices to promote diversity and inclusion strategies in each office.
    3. Push to make it permanent and non-partisan.
    4. Assist in collecting staff demographic information from offices.
    5. Meet with top senior applicants before and after they interview to top senior positions to review what the job entails.


For Immediate Release
February 28, 2017
Contact: Jessica Martinez, CHSA Communications Director

CHSA on New Senate Rules to Promote Staff Diversity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 — Today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will announce new initiatives designed to help improve staff diversity in Senate offices. The Congressional Hispanic Staff Association (CHSA) has released the following statement in response to the rules:

“This is a historic and long-awaited step in the right direction for the Senate Democratic Caucus. The Congressional Hispanic Staff Association commends Senator Schumer, Senate Democrats, and the Senate Diversity Initiative for proposing critical commitments including data collection, the Rooney Rule, and a pledge to work with individual offices to draft diversity and inclusion plans. During CHSA’s meeting with Senator Schumer last December, CHSA provided key recommendations for Senate staff to reflect the strong diversity of our country. Senator Schumer committed to making these efforts a priority and CHSA stands ready to help implement and support them every step of the way. Additionally, we hope these initiatives will serve as models for Senate Republicans, the House of Representatives, and other federal agencies to follow.”

A link to the Politico article highlighting the initiatives can be found here.


The Congressional Hispanic Staff Association (CHSA) is an official, non-partisan, bicameral Congressional Staff Organization, recognized by the Committee on House Administration, whose mission is to recruit, retain, and advance Hispanic staffers in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.