Doug Jones — whose recent Senate victory over Roy Moore has been credited to black voters — in an apparent nod of appreciation to the African-American community, has chosen Dana Gresham as his chief of staff.
Jones will be the only Democrat senator with a black person in that significant role.
Gresham, who is originally from Birmingham, headed the Department of Transportation’s Legislative Affairs Office during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency and has held different positions during his 14-year tenure in the Capital Hill.
His nomination is no mean victory for African-American representation in the Senate: Out of 3,600 Senate staff members, only 5 percent are black, according to a 2016 report. Sen. Tim Scott (who himself is black) and Jerry Moran of the Republican Party are the only two senators who have hired African-Americans for the chief of staff position. So, the appointment of Gresham is a welcome and much-needed change in the Senate.
GREAT NEWS!— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 2, 2018
Incoming Alabama Senator Doug Jones just became THE ONLY DEMOCRAT in the Senate to hire a Black Chief of Staff. This is the most important position on a Senate Staff.
He is going to officially name Dana Gresham later today. pic.twitter.com/kxApgGtBvV
CORRECTION: The hiring of Dana Gresham as chief of Staff by @GDouglasJones is monumental because he will the ONLY Black Chief of Staff hired by a Democrat. There are two Black Chiefs of Staff hired by Republican U.S. Senators.— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) January 2, 2018
BREAKING: Doug Jones (@GDouglasJones) has hired Dana Gresham as his Chief of Staff. Gresham is the ONLY Black Chief of Staff in the Senate. This adds diversity to our government! Nice job Doug Jones! #TuesdayThoughts— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) January 2, 2018
From @SpencerOverton @JointCenter on #DanaGresham: "This appointment is significant. African Americans represent 55% of @GDouglasJones supporters and they represent 23% of Democratic voters, and yet up until now, they have been only 1% of top Democratic staff." 1/— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) January 2, 2018
Jones’ move came just a few days after a civil rights group urged him to place at least one person of color as his senior staffer, according to The Washington Post.
During his election campaign, Jones passionately appealed to black voters to vote for him — a move that worked as the minority community was instrumental in his success. Some black public figures who advocated for Jones included Obama, basketball player Charles Barkley and actress Uzo Aduba, CNN stated. The Collective PAC, a group that advocates for black candidates, also endorsed Jones.
The senator-elect, who is replacing Sen. Luther Strange, will be sworn in Wednesday at a ceremony in Washington. His election was the first time in a quarter of a century that a Democrat won an Alabama senatorial race.
Doug Jones becomes first Democratic Senator to appoint black chief of staff pic.twitter.com/laqqO54OBX— Carbonated.TV (@CarbonatedTV) January 3, 2018