Tag: Tim Scott

Dana Gresham Named Chief of Staff for Newly-Sworn in U.S. Senator Doug Jones

PHOTO: Dana Gresham was named on Jan. 2, 2017 by Sen.-elect Doug Jones, D-Ala., as his chief of staff.
Dana Gresham was named on Jan. 2, 2017 by Sen.-elect Doug Jones, D-Ala., as his chief of staff. (via abcnews.com)

by David Caplan via abcnews.com

Senator-elect Doug Jones, the Democrat from Alabama who beat Republican Roy Moore in last month’s special Senate election, has tapped former Department of Transportation staffer Dana Gresham as his chief of staff, making him the only African-American chief of staff for a Senate Democrat.

“I would like to welcome Alabama native & former Asst. Secretary for Governmental Affairs at @USDOT Dana Gresham, who will be joining our team as Chief of Staff,” Jones tweeted Tuesday.

Prior to working at the Department of Transportation under President Barack Obama, Gresham worked for Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Ala., and Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala.  The appointment follows pressure from several organizations representing various communities of color that asked Jones last month to hire at least one minority to a senior-level position.

Two Republican senators, though, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Jerry Moran of Kansas, reportedly have black chiefs of staff.

Seventeen organizations, including the NAACP, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the National Urban League, wrote a letter to Jones in December suggesting he hire a person of color in light of the lack of diversity among Senate staff. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies organized the effort and drafted the letter.

“As a new Member of the U.S. Senate, you have an opportunity to show your constituents that not only do their voices matter, but that their experiences and skills are vital to the work that you do to represent them,” the groups wrote in the Dec. 19 letter to Jones. “Ensuring racial diversity among your staff would enhance the deliberation, innovation, legitimacy, and outcomes of your office and of the Senate as a whole. Hiring at least one person of color to your senior staff in Washington would speak loudly, and we ask that you do so among the qualified applicants that you will receive.”

News of Gresham’s hire was applauded across the Twittersphere.

“Great News! Birmingham’s own stand out Dana Gresham chosen to be Chief of Staff to Alabama’s Senator Doug Jones!” tweeted Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala. “Looking forward to working with them to move Alabama forward!! @GDouglasJones.”

Amanda Brown Lierman, political and organizing director for the Democratic National Committee tweeted, “Snaps for @GDouglasJones naming Dana Gresham as his Chief of Staff! #DougJones will be the ONLY #Senate #Democrat to have a black COS.”

And Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity tweeted, “Congratulations to Brother Dana Gresham [Mu Lambda ’97] for being appointed as Chief of Staff for Alabama Senator-elect, Doug Jones, who will be the only member of the Democratic caucus to have a Black/African-American chief of staff.”

To see original post, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/doug-jones-hires-senate-democrats-african-american-chief/story?id=52109446

CA Attorney General Kamala Harris Becomes 2nd Black Woman Elected to U.S. Senate

Newly-elected U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (photo via essence.com)
Newly-elected U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (photo via essence.com)

article by  via essence.com

California Attorney General Kamala Harris made history Tuesday night when she won the Senate race and became the second Black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Harris, an Oakland native, will replace Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, who intends to retire 23 years as a California senator. The last African-American woman elected to the senate was Carol Moseley Braun (D, Illinois) who served one term, from 1993-1999.

The Howard University graduate’s platforms included criminal justice, abortion rights and immigration reform. She beat out fellow Democrat, Rep. Loretta Sanchez for the hotly contested race.

A career prosecutor, Harris, whose mother is Indian and father is Jamaican, not only becomes the second Black woman in the senate, she’s also the first Indian woman in the position. For her run, Harris won endorsements from President Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown.

In an interview with ESSENCE earlier this year, Harris, 52, pledged “to ensure our children have a fair shot in school and in life by passing universal prekindergarten legislation.”

“This issue is important to all, but for Black women, poor women, working women, it’s about economic empowerment,” she added.

Harris joins two African-American men in the 100-member Senate: Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey). “Kamala is one of the most exciting leaders in the country right now,” Booker told ESSENCE. “She brings an incredible combination of life experiences and skills that are sorely needed on issues like prison reform, empowering victims, addiction and violence. And she has actually run [and managed] something, and shown herself to be a creative problem solver.”

With additional reporting by Donna Owens.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Finally Agrees Confederate Flag at State Capitol Must be removed

“This has been a very difficult time for our state,” Haley said. “We have stared evil in the eye. … Our state is grieving, but we are also coming together.”

“Today, we are here to say it is time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” said Haley, surrounded by top leaders including U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both Republicans like the governor. The other politicians broke out in cheers during the announcement.

The decision follows days of protests inside the state and growing pressure on Republican leaders to back away from the flag.  Roof, 21, is being held on nine murder charges in connection with the shooting last Wednesday. Pictures of Roof have surfaced showing the high school dropout with the flag.

Though she sharply condemned the alleged shooter, Haley noted that the flag represents many positive things for people in her state.  “The hate-filled murderer has a sick and twisted view of the flag,” she said, adding, “we have changed through the times and we will continue to do so, but that doesn’t mean we forget our history.”

In calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds, Haley said: “My hope is that moving a symbol that divides we can move forward and honor the nine blessed souls who are in heaven.”

Religious and political leaders including Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said earlier Monday that they would push for the flag’s removal when the Legislature returns.  Riley has led protest marches against the flag and has called for its removal from state grounds before.

“The time has come for the Confederate battle flag to move from a public position in front of the state Capitol to a place of history,” Riley said at a televised news conference. The flag “was appropriated years and years ago as a symbol of hate,” Riley said, and should be moved to a museum.

The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III of the National Action Network said the flag should be removed before the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the attack, lies in state on Wednesday. Pinckney was also pastor of Emanuel AME.

Republicans, who control South Carolina’s state Legislature, have rebuffed many previous calls to remove the flag, which dates from the Civil War. For civil rights activists and many others, the flag is a racist symbol of the state’s slave past.  The flag has also been adopted by some white supremacist groups in modern times.

Continue reading “South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Finally Agrees Confederate Flag at State Capitol Must be removed”

Record Number of African-Americans Running For Congress in 2014

mqdefaultWASHINGTON — A record number of African Americans are running for federal office this year, but their advances in elected office have been met by increased racial polarization in politics, particularly in the Deep South.

According to an analysis by David Bositis, an expert on African-American politics, there are 82 black nominees in the two major parties running in 2014, surpassing the 2012 record of 72 candidates.

Of the 82 candidates running, 64 are Democrats and 18 are Republicans, and all but three are seeking election to the U.S. House.

Two black Democrats, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Joyce Dickerson of South Carolina, and one black Republican, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, are on the ballot for U.S. Senate seats.

Among the candidates are four African-American women who are likely to be new additions to the U.S. House: Democrats Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, Alma Adams of North Carolina, and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands, as well as Republican Mia Love of Utah, who would be the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.

Candidate Brenda Lawrence
Candidate Brenda Lawrence

Currently there are 44 African Americans serving in Congress, and their ranks are forecast to grow in November, which means next January will bring in a Congress with the highest number of blacks serving in U.S. history.

The growth of blacks in Congress has been most notable in the House Democratic Caucus. After the 2012 elections, House Democrats became the first congressional faction in history to be more than half women and minorities. The 2014 election slate suggests that trend will not reverse itself anytime soon.

White men continue to dominate the Republican Party, and white men make up the majority of Senate Democrats.

These milestones are not without downsides, Bositis notes. The nomination of black candidates, particularly in the Deep South, is driven in part by the massive exodus of whites from the Democratic Party ranks, which has fueled more racial polarization than harmony.

“I wish I could write with confidence that these increases in black major party nominees was a positive development, but the fact is that many of the increases are occurring in states (especially in the South) where most whites are withdrawing from Democratic party politics — leaving black candidates the nominations by default,” he wrote.

article by Susan Davis via usatoday.com