Booker, Hirono, Padilla to lead DSCC diversity effort

Senate trio will co-chair the ‘Majority Rising Leadership Council’

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker will co-chair a DSCC effort to recruit diverse staff and candidates.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL file photo)
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker will co-chair a DSCC effort to recruit diverse staff and candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL file photo)
Posted May 11, 2021 at 6:00am

A trio of Democratic senators are leading a new effort in their party’s campaign arm to engage campaign staffers and communities of color ahead of the 2022 midterms, when Democrats will be defending their slim Senate majority. 

Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii and Alex Padilla of California will co-chair the Majority Rising Leadership Council at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to an announcement shared first with CQ Roll Call. 

“The diversity of the Democratic Party is our strength, and Senators Booker, Hirono and Padilla will help ensure our campaigns have the expertise and resources they need to engage the communities that power our victories,” DSCC Chairman Gary Peters said in a statement.

The council is a revamped and more formalized version of the DSCC’s previous diversity effort known as 2044 Leadership Council, and a sign that the committee is looking to address concerns about diversity within the party.

Hirono, Booker and Padilla all made history when they joined the chamber. Hirono, who was born in Japan, in 2012 became the first Asian American woman elected to the Senate. The next year, Booker became the first Black senator from New Jersey. And Padilla, who was appointed in January to replace Vice President Kamala Harris, is the first Latino to represent California in the Senate.

Padilla will be seeking a full term next year, when Democrats are defending seats in multiple battlegrounds with diverse populations, including Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. They are also looking to expand their razor thin majority by flipping GOP-held seats in a number of states including Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to flip the Senate.

“Campaigns and candidates need thoughtful and purposeful outreach to communities of color — and a plan to reach every voter they need to win,” Booker said in a statement.

Booker has led an effort to diversify Senate staff, and some Democrats believe a lack of diversity on Capitol Hill stems in part from largely white campaign staff. The Majority Rising Leadership Council will also focus on “creating a pipeline of diverse staff at all levels of campaigns,” according to a press release.