The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the body charged with helping elect Democrats to the House, has added a slate of senior staffers after a series of high-profile departures over the summer.
The hires, which focused on bringing in people of color, help bring the body back to full strength less than a year before Democrats defend their House majority. The staff moves are part of a broader effort to quell concerns about a lack of diversity in the DCCC’s upper echelons.
Among the new hires are Tasha Cole, a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation executive who will be the DCCC’s first chief diversity officer, and Ryan Hedgepeth, the chief of staff to Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceFormer Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19; Trump says task force will ‘evolve’ Black Caucus moves to front and center in COVID fight House reverses, but Senate to return despite COVID threat MORE (D-Mich.), who will become the deputy executive director for member engagement.
The DCCC said that with the new hires, half of its senior leadership team identify as people of color.
“One of the DCCC’s greatest strengths is the dedicated and diverse staff working to ensure Democrats are positioned to fight for the priorities of the American people,” DCCC Chairwoman Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosGOP pulls support from California House candidate over ‘unacceptable’ social media posts Republican flips House seat in California special election GOP’s Don Bacon and challenger neck and neck in Democratic poll MORE (D-Ill.) said in a statement Wednesday. “With these new additions to our team, I am confident the DCCC is on track for success this election cycle.”
“Democrats are back in the majority for the first time in a decade, and it is vital that this organization is fully prepared to serve the needs of the most diverse Caucus in American history. We have some of the most talented staff in the country, working day in and day out to protect and expand our majority, and I could not be more proud to lead this team,” added DCCC Executive Director Lucinda Guinn.
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Among the other high-profile hires are Gabrielle Quintana Greenfield, who will be the new battlefield director, Robyn Patterson as national press secretary and Darwin Pham, who will be the DCCC’s first-ever deputy national press secretary handling Asian American and Pacific Islander media outreach and voter engagement.
The DCCC already has deputy national press secretaries to deal with Hispanic and African American media outreach and voter engagement.
The reshuffling comes after reports emerged over the summer of concerns from members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who said Bustos had not included enough diverse hires in the DCCC’s leadership team. Several staffers, including the communications director, a political director, a deputy executive director and the committee’s diversity director, also left over the summer.
“I recognize that, at times, I have fallen short in leading these talented individuals. To my colleagues, who I have the upmost respect for, I hear your concerns, and we can and must do better,” Bustos said in July.