Hiring a staff representative of constituents and their interests should be a priority for Congress, according to new survey results from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
According to the analysis, Building a More Inclusive Agenda: A Survey of Congressional Priorities Across Race — Racial Equity Priorities, more than half of respondents (54%) said this kind of hiring is important, with Black respondents (68%) voicing the most support.
“Racially-conscious leadership and policy-making is crucial to maintaining American democracy; it enables leaders to provide different policy perspectives to comprehend the priorities of diverse communities,” said Dr. LaShonda Brenson, senior researcher of the Joint Center’s Hill Diversity work and analysis co-author. “With Americans continued prioritization of racial equity in hiring, legislation, and voting rights, especially in light of the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action, legislators must reflect the needs of their constituents.”
The analysis and survey – part of the center’s Data for Black America Project – involved surveying more than 1,200 Americans about their views on what Congress’s priorities should be, the options being: top priority, an important but lower priority, not too important a priority, or something that should not be done.
The 118th Congress is the most diverse in history, with approximately 25% identifying as people of color.
Other results included that: 73% believed passing legislation to make sure that every American has the right to vote should be an important or top priority; 72% thought making sure laws passed by Congress don’t discriminate by race should be an important or top priority; and over 60% said passing legislation to decrease racial inequality should be an important or top priority.
Overall, Black respondents were most likely to rank the race conscious policies as top priorities, women on average rated racial priorities higher than men, and bachelor’s degree-holders rated racial priorities higher than those with no high school diploma.
“Through the survey results, Congress can see direct data points of what the American public wants and expects from them to accurately prioritize their racial equity concerns,” said Kimberly Victor, research associate and analysis co-author. “The results are a call to action to ensure Congress prioritizes diverse hiring, promotes non-discriminatory legislation, and ensures every American utilizes their right to vote.”