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Racial diversity on Capitol Hill: How much?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Is Capitol Hill too white? That’s a question The Hill discusses today in an article about diversity among staffers in Congress.

Apparently there are just two Senate chiefs of staff who are minorities, only five white lawmakers in the House who have African-American chiefs of staff, and only four African-American staff directors of either House or Senate committees.

“We need to work on it more,” Rep. Keith Ellison, who is African-American and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told The Hill. “And I think we would benefit and the Congress would benefit if we put a lot more effort into it.”

According to The Hill, a group of lawmakers, lobbyists and aides are now pressing congressional leaders to adopt a version of the so-called Rooney rule.

The rule, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, requires that NFL teams interview at least one minority candidate when they are filling head coaching vacancies. It has been credited with significantly increasing the number of African-American coaches in the NFL, according to The Hill.

“The staff should reflect the diversity of our country,” Ellison told The Hill. “We need to cast a wide net and make sure everybody has a chance. The problems of our country are complex and we’re going to need input from everybody.”

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