Kamala Harris makes staff change & candidate wants to form a Hip Hop party.
Kamala Harris makes staff change & candidate wants to form a Hip Hop party.
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August 15, 2018
Black Caucus Chair Chides Tom Pérez, Jim Clyburn Floats Leadership Run, and Ajit Pai Adopts Diversity Rule
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TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIPChristine Hallquist could become the country's first transgender Governor after winning Vermont’s Democratic primary on Tuesday. And there’s finally a result in last week’s Republican primary for Governor of Kansas. Republican incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer conceded to Secretary of State Kris Kobach -- a Donald Trump favorite who some in the party worry will be too polarizing in November. More on last night’s historic primary wins below. THE LIBERTARIAN SWEET SPOT? Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson kicked off a campaign Tuesday to unseat incumbent Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), aiming to find the political sweet spot in the space between Democrats and voters loyal to Trump. WORD?! Pressed by NBC’s Kristen Welker about whether she could guarantee that there is not a recording of Trump uttering the n-word, as Omarosa asserts, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “I can’t guarantee anything.” Let that sink in for a moment. JUST LIKE BLACK LIVES, FACTS MATTER… In an effort to prove how not racist Trump is, the Press Sec once again took aim at President Barack Obama and wrongly stated that Trump has created three times as many jobs for Black workers as Obama did. PRESS SEC LIES, NUMBERS DON’T… If you’re keeping track, Black employment increased by nearly 3 million jobs from January 2009 through January 2017. From January 2017 through July of this year, Black employment has increased by about 700,000 jobs. BACK TO JUDGINGThe Senate returns today from an abbreviated summer recess to confirm two more federal appeals court judges by the end of the week, as they move toward confirming Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. PAY ATTENTION: The Senate’s rapid approval of appellate judges is likely to have its own broad impact on the nation, as the 13 circuit courts will shape decisions on immigration, voting rights, abortion, and the environment for generations. THE DEFENSE RESTS… Closing arguments are set to begin today in the trial of Trump’s former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort. His lawyers declined to call any witnesses to the stand to defend him against charges of bank and tax fraud. PREDATOR PRIESTSA searing grand jury report in Pennsylvania accused bishops and other Roman Catholic Church leaders of covering up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over 70 years. The investigation, which found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the U.S. of child sexual abuse in the Church. FREE PRESS UNITEDMore than 200 news publications across the country have committed to a Boston Globe-coordinated effort to run editorials tomorrow promoting the freedom of the press, in light of Trump’s frequent attacks on the media. Publications range from large metropolitan dailies to small weekly papers with circulations as low as 4,000. SPEAKING OF A FREE PRESS… We need some free time! We’re swapping out the 18-hour days for a brief August breather. We’re back on Monday. In the meantime, we’re leaving you with all of this…
  • There are still 539 children currently in federal custody after being separated at the southern border. Lawmakers want to know what's being done about it.
  • Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) brings on a new staffer, while Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) loses one.
  • WaPo, NYT, HuffPost, and USA Today all add people of color to their newsrooms. Meet them below.
  • A House candidate pushes a hip-hop political party.
  • Soledad O'Brien calls out CNN over lack of Black leadership. Check it out in Blogs.
Investigation Discovery’s María Elena Salinas with her family over the weekend.
SNL’s Leslie Jones on-set with CNN’s Van Jones on Saturday before a taping of the Van Jones Show.
Black Caucus Chair Chides Tom Pérez Over DNC Superdelegate Rule
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) on Monday urged DNC committee members to oppose a plan to weaken superdelegates’ influence in the presidential nominating process. In a letter to DNC Chairman Tom Pé
rez, Richmond said the proposal would “disenfranchise elected officials” who serve as superdelegates. “There should be enough room in the process to include the perspective of local party activists and officials, and Members of Congress. One group should not be harmed at the expense of the other.” He added, “to add insult to injury, it appears that this is a solution in search of a problem. Unelected delegates have never gone against the will of primary voters in picking Democratic presidential nominees.” The DNC’s Unity Reform Commission in July voted to advance new rules that would make superdelegates significantly less powerful. The compromise would prevent the hundreds of unpledged delegates from voting on the first ballot of a presidential nomination. While they would be free to make endorsements, their support would not count toward a candidate’s delegate total, except in the event of a brokered convention. More here.
Senators Demand DHS Reunite Remaining Separated Families
There are still 539 children currently in federal custody after being separated from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border, despite a court order demanding that they be reunified. Seventeen Senators -- including Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bob Menéndez (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) -- on Tuesday sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen calling for an immediate remedy to the situation. The letter also stresses how each passing day that the Department of Homeland Security fails to act to reunite separated immigrant children with their parents exacerbates trauma for these children and their families seeking humanitarian protection. “We specifically call on DHS to use humanitarian parole to reunify families with deported parents abroad, to adopt a presumption of reunification for families with parents now deemed “ineligible,” and to ensure that no parents who relinquished their rights to reunification under coercion or duress are removed.” A majority of separated immigrant children in government custody -- approximately 386 children -- remain there because the government deported their parents after they were first separated. The parents of an additional 87 children have been deemed “ineligible,” and Homeland Security claims that at least 34 separated immigrant children remain in government custody because their parents voluntarily relinquished their right to reunification. See the letter here.
Jim Clyburn Floats Speaker Run
Assistant Democratic Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (SC) is ready to make history as the first African American Speaker of the House. McClatchy reports that the third-ranking House Democrat, most senior African American in Congress, and 25-year veteran lawmaker has no intention of challenging Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the job, assuming Dems retake control of the House in November. However, Clyburn is signaling he is prepared to offer himself up as a successor should Pelosi not have the support to win back the post. He says Democrats must be smarter about how they sell themselves to voters and emphasized winning over African Americans. He cautioned not relying solely on being anti-Trump to win over the community. “We have to be out there putting forth an alternative for our constituents because that is what it’s going to take for them to really rally around us. And we aren’t satisfied that enough attention is being paid to that.” Should Pelosi bow out, Clyburn would faceoff with Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “If we were all smart and strategic that race will never occur,” Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) told McClatchy. The Congressional Black Caucus is pushing particularly hard for the 78-year-old to prepare to run for the post if Pelosi steps aside. “You cannot get to 218 (votes) to be speaker without the Black Caucus,” CBC Chairman Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) said. “If we hold, you cannot get the speakership without us. I’m just doing math right now, you can’t get there without the Black Caucus.” More here.
CNN’s Keith Boykin flexing in LA over the weekend.
CBS News’ Weijia Jiang recording for NPR’s On Point podcast last month.
Primary Victors
Randy “Iron Stache” Bryce 
won the Democratic nomination in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. He will face Bryan Steil for the open seat currently occupied by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) in the general election. Bryce’s general election bid in the conservative-leaning district may be dogged by a spotty past driving record and the appeal of his unabashedly progressive policies in historically GOP territory. But the blue collar “Iron Stache” is also an Army veteran and cancer survivor -- and this will likely add to his appeal for many people. Former Milwaukee State Representative Mandela Barnes handily won the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. He will join State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers on a ticket to take on Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch in the November general election. Stay tuned. Jahana Hayes, a former national teacher of the year, claimed victory in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District. If she bests her GOP opponent in November, she will be the first Black woman to represent New England in Congress. Hayes ran on protecting the public education system, moving towards a single-payer health care system, and passing gun control legislation. She will face either Republicans Manny Santos, Ruby Corby O'Neill, or Rich DuPont in the general election. The district leans Democratic, according to a host of race ratings. In Minnesota, DNC Vice Chair and Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) easily won the Democratic primary for Minnesota Attorney General. The victory came just hours after the DNC announced it is reviewing allegations of domestic abuse from Ellison’s ex-girlfriend. With a path toward another victory in November and a role near the top of the national party -- questions about the allegations are not likely to go away. In the state’s Fifth Congressional District, Somali American Ilhan Omar was victorious in her Democratic primary. If she wins against Republican Jennifer Zielinski, she will become the first Somali American member of Congress replacing Ellison. Dems also nominated Peggy Flanagan who would be first Native American to hold the job of Lieutenant Governor in Minnesota. She will join gubernatorial nominee Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) to faceoff with Jeff Johnson and his running mate Donna Bergstrom in November. More election results here.

Hip-Hop Political Party Pushes Busta Rhymes for Governor
Some members of the hip-hop community are looking to form their own party line for the coming state elections. The New American Party is being pushed by Jineea Butler, Founder of the Hip Hop Union and a Republican congressional candidate against Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). Butler said she and others have spoken to rap star Busta Rhymes about potentially running for Governor, but he has not committed. Butler said she also has reached out to LL Cool J but has not heard back. Assisting in the effort is Eric Barrier, better known as Eric B. of the classic hip-hop group Eric B & Rakim. “Hip hop changed the world 40, 45 years ago when it started. It just gave people an absolute freedom of speech. We want to use that same principle with a strong agenda that addresses economic disparity and prosperity-driven initiatives,” Butler said. More here.

CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz in the make-up chair before going on air in DC last week.
Indian Country Editor Mark Trahant celebrating his birthday with his mother over the weekend.
Kamala Harris and Mark Warner Announce Staff Changes
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)
has added Valéria Sandoval to his staff as a Legislative Correspondent. Sandoval most recently served as a Legislative Assistant in the office of Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA), where her policy portfolio included education, environment, agriculture, technology, homelessness, and energy. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, the bilingual staffer -- who is fluent in English and Spanish -- worked in immigration advocacy, primarily assisting folks with DACA applications and immigration-related issues. The University of California at Berkeley graduate also serves as the Programming Director for the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association. Andy Vargas, Staff Assistant for Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), has been promoted to Legislative Correspondent. The Los Angeles native previously served as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute BP STEM Public Policy Fellow in the office of Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). Prior to that, Vargas was a Legislative Fellow on the Political Affairs Team for the Environmental Defense Fund, where he collaborated on energy policies and interacted with Latino communities to raise awareness on environmental and social issues. The 2016 Dickinson College graduate is also fluent in both English and Spanish. More here.
Chuck Schumer Staffer Departs
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
is losing a staffer. Oumou Ly, his Defensive Legislative Aide on the National Security Team, is heading to the London School of Economics to start the Conflict Studies Graduate Program. She began in Schumer’s office in 2014 as a Legislative Correspondent, monitoring legislation defense and military, foreign policy, veterans affairs, and energy. She then was promoted to Legislative Aide, where she helped draft legislation and author amendments, pitch topics and action-items, and more. The Notre Dame de Namur University graduate is crossing the pond, but we predict a return to the Beltway soon. More about Oumou here

The Latest Omarosa Drama
The Trump campaign said Tuesday that it was seeking to force Omarosa into binding arbitration under the terms of a 2016 confidentiality agreement that the campaign claims her book violated. The reality TV villain continues to wreak havoc on her former employer with a salacious media tour all meant to promote her book, Unhinged. In it, she claims that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suggested Black students didn’t have the capacity to understand her agenda, said that she wants “to replace public education with for-profit schools,” and that Trump has called her by the nickname “Ditzy DeVos.” Her rumor-filled tell-all accuses Trump of racism -- a charge apparent to many long before this book.  "I will say I am going to expose the corruption that went on in the campaign and in the White House. I'm going to continue to blow the whistle on all of that,' she said on MSNBC Tuesday. She alleges there is a tape of Trump using the n-word during a taping of The Apprentice. Trump has denied that, but the whole ordeal led to a clumsy response from former Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson, who was caught lying saying she never had a conference call with Omarosa on the subject. Then hours later, Omarosa released audio of the call with Pierson and Trump aide HUD’s Lynne Patton -- who also denied ever having the conversation -- talking about the possible existence of the tape. This elicited another statement from Pierson, this time in tandem with Patton, in which the duo sought to make clear that what they have been denying all along is a specific claim made in Omarosa's book in which she says GOP pollster Frank Luntz told them he had heard Trump use the racial slur on an audio tape. Omarosa also says she has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. All of the back and forth is giving Omarosa what she likely desires most: media attention and book sales. More here.

Top Defense Department Staffer Under Investigation for Reportedly Abusing Position 
Dana White
, the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, is under investigation by the Defense Department Office of Inspector General for allegedly misusing staff and re-assigning them when they complained. White reportedly asked support staff to get her drycleaning, run to the pharmacy for her to buy pantyhose and snacks, and work on her mortgage paperwork, among other personal tasks. When staffers filed complaints about her, she then allegedly transferred at least two personnel inappropriately. Pentagon ethics standards state that "a DoD official may not direct or request subordinates to use official time to perform any activities other than official activities,” even if staffers do not object. About a dozen staffers have been interviewed by the Inspector General’s office in the ongoing investigation, and White declined to comment. After White was told certain staff requests were inappropriate, she reportedly asked to review the Pentagon’s ethics rules so she could stay within the guidelines. She was appointed to her position in April 2017 and is a direct employee of Defense Secretary James Mattis -- whom she is currently traveling with in South America. More on the allegations here.
 
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Jessica Tang Makes History at AFT
Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang was elected to the Executive Council of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), becoming both its first Asian American member and its youngest currently serving member. The middle school social studies teacher earned her Bachelor’s at Harvard University and holds a Master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Tang is a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance’s (APALA) Massachusetts chapter and was appointed as the AFT representative on the national APALA executive board in 2017. She also served on former MA Governor Deval Patrick’s Teacher Advisory Board. This isn’t the first time Tang has made history: in 2017, she became the first person of color and first LGBTQ community member to head the Boston Teachers Union. More about her here.

National Partnership for Women & Families Taps Obama Alumna for VP Post
The National Partnership for Women & Families announced that Amaya Jane Smith will serve as their new VP for Marketing and Communications. In her new role, Smith will be responsible for strategic direction and oversight of its marketing, digital and media outreach, and all communications. Smith previously served as Communications Director and Strategic Advisor to the President at the AFL-CIO, and prior to that, she was Press Secretary for the American Association for Justice. She served as South Carolina and Alabama Press Secretary for the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign. Before that, she was a Regional Press Secretary for the DNC. The 2001 American University grad and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. also spent time on Capitol Hill serving as a Communications Director for former Maryland Congressman Albert Wynn. The National Partnership for Women & Families advocates for fairness in the workplace, access to quality, affordable health care, reproductive health and rights, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More here.

Investigation Discovery’s Tamron Hall and She Knows Editor-in-Chief Justine Goodman at the #BlogHer18 Creators Summit in NYC over the weekend.
 Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) with constituents celebrating her win in the primary election last week.
HuffPost Hires First-Ever Creative Director for News
Ivylise Simones
is joining HuffPost as its first Creative Director for News. She most recently served as a Design Director for Wired, where she oversaw design for Wired magazine, Wired.com, and all other platforms. Prior to that, Simones was the Creative Director for Mother Jones, where she was responsible for creative operations for the investigative news outlet's bi-monthly print magazine and website. Simones has also served as the Art Direct for Village Voice, Harris Publications, the Design Director for the New York Observer, and more. The 2006 University of Miami graduate began her career as an Associate Art Director for the Miami New Times. More about her here.

USA Today Hires Michelle Maltais to Lead Retail, Food, and Personal Tech Coverage
Michelle Maltais
has joined the USA Today Money team as its Consumer Editor. In her new role, she will join the Los Angeles bureau and lead a newly formed team focused on retail, food, and personal technology. She most recently served as a Social Media and Audience Engagement Consultant at CALmatters -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism explaining California's policies and politics. Prior to that, Maltais was at the LA Times, where for 20 years she served in a variety of roles including as a Tech Reporter, Director of Audience Engagement, Editorial Broadcast Manager, Copy Editor, and more. The 1994 Scripps College graduate, who also has a Master’s from Columbia University, began her career as a Reporter for the Desert Sun. More here.

NYT Adds to the Briefings Team
Alisha Haridasani Gupta
has joined The New York Times, where she’ll write the morning edition of the briefing for European readers. She previously served as a Writer at TheSkimm. Prior to that, the bilingual storyteller -- who is fluent in English and Hindi -- was an Associate Producer at CNN, where she pitched, researched, shot, and produced segments for different sponsored shows across the international network. Originally from Hong Kong, Alisha completed her Bachelor's at City, University of London before going on to earn a Master’s from the University of Hong Kong. She then began her career as a News Reporter and Features Writer for Business Traveller Magazine. More here.

WaPo Adds to the Morning Mix Team
Andrea Cornejo
will join The Washington Post as the Morning Mix Video Editor. Cornejo previously served as a summer video intern with The Post, where she covered breaking news stories on immigration and more. Prior to that, the Ecuador native was an intern for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She also worked as a Visual Journalist for The Gainesville Sun while earning her Bachelor’s at the University of Florida. Her work has earned a number of recognitions, including Multimedia Story of the Year for the Hearst Journalism Awards Championship, first place in Enterprise News and General News for the National Hearst Journalism Awards Program, and Student Video Photographer of the Year for The White House News Photographers Association. More here.

NYT Adds First-Ever California Food Critic
Tejal Rao
, Food Reporter for the NYT and Eat Columnist for New York Times Magazine, will become the paper's first California restaurant critic. In her new role, Rao will review restaurants and write about food and food culture in every corner of the nation’s most populous state, at places “both fancy and not.” Rao previously was a Restaurant Critic at Bloomberg News. Prior to that, she served as a Restaurant Critic at the Village Voice. She won the James Beard Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award at both outlets, first for the Voice in 2013 and then for Bloomberg in 2016, and was also one of Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" of 2013. Rao has also covered restaurants and food culture at Tasting Table and Saveur. The 2004 Emerson College graduate, who also attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in London, cooked in DC and San Francisco restaurants before moving to New York to work as a writer. Rao has also taught a writing workshop at the National Critics Institute, and is an occasional guest lecturer at The New School and New York University. She starts her new gig this fall. More here.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) visiting her hometown restaurant, Hannara Restaurant, in Waianae last week.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) talking to Ridgeway, SC residents about tariffs and more last week.
FCC Intros Media Diversity Initiative for Radio
The FCC earlier this month took what it called “a historic and long overdue step” to increase ownership diversity in the radio industry. The agency adopted requirements that will govern an incubator program to assist new, small, or struggling voices, including women and minorities, in overcoming the key barriers to entry into the broadcast sector. Under the program, an established broadcaster will provide financial and operational support, including training and mentoring, to a new or small broadcaster. At the end of a successful incubation relationship, the new or small broadcaster will either own and operate a new station independently, or the previously struggling broadcaster’s station will be on a firmer footing. Once an incubation relationship is completed successfully, the established broadcaster will be eligible to receive a waiver of the commission’s Local Radio Ownership Rule. FCC Chair Ajit Pai credited the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters who first advanced the idea to the FCC in 1990, and the FCC first sought comment on it in 1992. However, Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel dissented because the “action will do too little to change that reality for too many who have waited too long.” She specifically called out the problem of ownership consolidation and its effect on media diversity -- which the initiative may inadvertently make worse by allowing some incubator stations to receive a waiver of the Local Radio Ownership Rule. More here.

Hispanic and African American News Media Suffer from Declining Audience and Staff
News media aimed at Black and Hispanic communities have seen recent declines in their audiences. Univisió
n and Telemundo are key providers of news for Spanish speakers and, according to a Pew Research study, viewership for each network’s national newscasts decreased in 2017. The average audience during the early evening national news time slot (4P to 7P) declined by 6% for both networks, to an average audience of about 1.1 million for Univisión and about 700,000 for Telemundo. Circulation also declined by at least 18% for each of the three daily Hispanic newspapers. For the top 20 Hispanic weekly and semi-weekly newspapers, however, average per-paper circulation remained steady, at about 92,000. Only a few Black-oriented newspapers audited circulation figures, making it difficult to acquire audience figures for the sector as a whole. And TV One recently canceled their daily news show hosted by Roland Martin. The portion of local TV newsroom staff who are Black has remained at about 10% since 1995, according to a survey of TV stations from RTDNA. In comparison, the percentage of television news directors who are Black is smaller, at 5%; in 1995, just 2% of local TV news directors were Black. Hispanics, who made up 4% of both the TV news workforce and TV news directors in 1995, now make up 11% of the TV news workforce and 7% of TV news directors. Other studies have shown that declines in the production and consumption of local journalism can lead to a variety of other negative consequences, including increases in government costs, lower civic engagement, and lower political participation. These findings show that communities with minority populations may not be as well served by local news outlets. More here.
BLAH BLAH BLOGS
FOMO
Friday, August 17th - Sunday, August 19th: Martha’s Vineyard celebrates Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) 20 years of service. Special guests include House Assistant Minority Leader Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and more. Harbor View Hotel, 131 North Water Street Edgartown, MA. Kelley House, 23 Kelley Street Edgartown, MA. Click here for more information
Friday, September 7th, 11A: Dialogue on Diversity's 2018 Entrepreneurship/IT Conference, "STEAM -- Power for the XXI Century." 2043 Rayburn House Office Building. 45 Independence Ave., S.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, September 11th - Wednesday, September 12th: CHCI's Annual Leadership Conference. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 12th - Saturday, September 16th: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 48th Annual Legislative Conference. Walter E. Washington Convention CenterClick here for more information.
Thursday, September 13th: CHCI's 41st Annual Anniversary Awards Gala. Marriott Marquis Washington, DC. 901 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 19th: The Political LEAP: The Role of Women in 2018" a women empowerment luncheon focused on the role of women in politics, featuring Symone Sandersand Alencia Johnson. The Hamilton, 600 14th Street, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, September 25th - Saturday, September 29th: NBMBAA 40th Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
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