Colorado’s two U.S. senators employ racially and ethnically diverse staffs, with half of Michael Bennet’s staffers identifying as non-Caucasian and 43% of John Hickenlooper’s saying the same, according to a demographic survey released Thursday by Senate Democrats.
Billed as a “snapshot of the racial, ethnic and gender diversity” among lawmaker’s staffs on June 30, when it was conducted, the annual survey is part of the party’s Diversity Initiative. Senate Republicans don’t release a similar analysis.
A self-reported questionnaire asked Senate employees to check boxes indicating whether they identify as Latino, Black or African American, Asian or Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern or North African, Native American, or Hawaiian or Alaskan. It also asked respondents if they identify as as male, female and LGBTQ.
Both Coloradans employ more women than men — women make up 55% of Bennet’s staff and 52% of Hickenlooper’s — and both have sizable contingents that said they are LGBTQ, with 11% of Bennet’s staff and 21% of Hickenlooper’s checking the box.
Three in 10 Bennet staffers are Latino, as are one-quarter of Hickenlooper’s. Nine percent of those in Bennet’s office and 7% of those in Hickenloopers are Black, the survey found.
Bennet’s staff incudes about 40 employees, while Hickenlooper has 44 staffers working for him, their offices said.
The survey, in its seventh year, reports results in percentages and doesn’t distinguish between senior staff and other aides, who work for the lawmakers’ at the U.S. Capitol and in offices throughout Colorado.
Neither Colorado lawmaker was at the survey’s extremes.
The Hill reported that Hawaii’s two Democratic senators, Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, have the most racially diverse staffs, with roughly two-thirds of their employees saying they’re nonwhite. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin had the least racially diverse office with 12% nonwhite, followed closely by Montana Sen. Jon Tester at 13%.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine had the highest share of women working for him at 78%, just ahead of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, whose staff was 75% women. Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell came in with the lowest ratio of women employees, with 21% identifying as women and 57% as men.