Black ExperiencePolitics

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Appoints Black Woman as Chief of Staff

Sen. Elizabeth Warren named Anne Reid as her new chief of staff Thursday, making her one of few persons of color to lead a Senate staff and the only Black woman serving in the role for a Democratic senator.

Reid, who currently serves as senior adviser to Warren, previously served as counselor to former Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell during the latter years of the Obama administration.

“Anne is a gifted leader and committed public servant,” Warren said. “Anne’s experience serving our country and working to improve the health and well-being of millions of Americans will be invaluable as we continue our fights to level the playing field.”

The announcement was lauded by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which in recent years has issued a report outlining the lack of diversity among Senate staffers and launched an interactive tool to keep track of Congress’s top hires.

“Black women play a critical role in our democracy, and Senator Warren’s appointment of a talented staffer like Anne Reid recognizes that Americans from all backgrounds can serve in a leadership role at the highest levels of government. Other senators and House members should take notice,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center. “More than 300 top staff positions are being filled during the transition into the 116th Congress, and over the next few weeks, members have an opportunity to start to fix the lack of diversity among top staff in Congress. They should also adopt policies to help ensure all talent is recognized, such as annual disclosure of staff demographics by position, interviewing at least one person of color for every top and mid-level position opening (the “Rooney Rule”), factoring a member’s staff diversity into committee assignments, unconscious bias training for staff, and setting up a chamber-wide diversity office to support members.”

Before joining Warren’s office, Reid served as a staff member of the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee and Oversight & Government Reform Committee for Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.). In her final year on the Energy and Commerce staff, she was the lead Democratic staffer covering public health agencies and issues.

“We commend Senator Warren for increasing staff diversity among chiefs of staff,” said Don Bell, director of the Black Talent Initiative at the Joint Center. “As we have seen so far during this hiring season, the face of senior staff in the House and Senate is changing because of members who recognize that it is not enough to have diversity in electoral coalitions. Diversity and inclusion must be the centerpiece of policymaking. It starts with staff.”

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