By Robert Mann
Note to Louisiana Republicans seeking votes in the black community: If you plan to tout the diversity of your staff, take a couple of minutes to familiarize yourself with the names of your black employees, if you have any.
On Thursday, in LaPolitics Weekly, reporters John Maginnis and Jeremy Alford described a Monday meeting between U.S. Sen. David Vitter and members of the Legislative Black Caucus. Vitter is running for governor in 2015 and, according to Maginnis and Alford, “he received credit overall for reaching out to legislators who are unlikely to support his gubernatorial bid or, if he wins, many of his policies.”
But, then, things got weird after state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, also chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party, inquired about the diversity of Vitter’s Senate staff and his potential governor’s office staff.
“When asked about the racial make-up of his senatorial staff,” LaPolitics Weekly reports, “Vitter said there were African-American workers in his office, but that he was unable to think of their names.”
Vitter’s answer suggests that whatever role his black staffers have, it does not involve regular contact with the senator.
Perhaps Vitter has a very diverse mailroom?
Update: Jeremy Alford informs me that Vitter’s spokesman, Luke Bolar, later issued this comment in response to their reporting: “Senator Vitter enjoyed the discussion and the valuable insight, but didn’t want to get into specifics on staffing because some of that’s in flux right now. He recently interviewed several African-American candidates with another such interview scheduled for next Monday.”