Doug Jones Hires Black Chief Of Staff At Urging Of Advocacy Groups

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Doug Jones speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, in Birmingham , Ala.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/AP

Democrat Doug Jones, who will be sworn in as a senator representing Alabama this week, announced on Tuesday that his chief of staff will be Dana Gresham, a former assistant secretary for government affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Before joining the Obama administration, Gresham worked for several members of Congress on Capitol Hill. With Gresham’s hiring, Jones will be the only Democratic senator with a black chief of staff. Two Republican senators have black chiefs of staff.

Gresham’s hiring comes after advocacy groups urged Jones to hire people of color to lead his Senate staff given that minority voters helped propel Jones to a stunning victory in deep-red Alabama. In a December letter, seventeen groups, including, the  Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the NAACP and the National Urban League, wrote to Jones and asked him to hire at least one person of color to work in one of the top three staff positions in his Senate office.

This post has been updated.