Sen. Kamala Harris is making a key staffing change ahead of a holiday season in which she’ll be mulling a decision on a presidential run. On Monday, Harris announced Rohini Kosoglu as her new chief of staff. Kosoglu, who is Sri Lankan-American, enters the position as the only Asian-American woman currently serving as a U.S. senator’s chief of staff — and she tells Bustle that she’s optimistic about Congress becoming more diverse in 2019.
Kosoglu’s promotion from deputy chief of staff reflects a diversity among Harris’ staffers that isn’t matched by all her Democratic colleagues. And the numbers bear that out. According to a 2017 report released by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, most senators from the party employ women staffers, but an overwhelming number of staffers are white. At the time that report was released, Harris’ office employed the second-highest number of people of color, behind only Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz’s office. The newly minted chief of staff tells Bustle that it’s important for lawmakers and senior congressional staff to reflect the demographics of the country.
“I think it’s important that when we advance diversity [in Congress], we also advance the ability to address many issues in front of us,” Kosoglu says. “Our staff reflects California — the makeup of California, as well as the country.”