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Black lawmakers urge diversity in Obama cabinet

12 march 2013, 18:22
The Congressional Black Caucus complained to President Barack Obama on Monday about his lack of diversity, highlighting his failure to nominate any African-Americans to his second-term cabinet, AFP reports.

"As you continue choosing your critical advisors, we want to stress the importance of ensuring every community has a seat at the table," CBC chair Marcia Fudge, a Democratic congresswoman from Ohio, said in a letter to Obama, the first black US president.

"The absence of diverse voices leads to policies and programs that adversely impact African-Americans."

The frustration about his homogeneous handful of top advisors and department heads is "compounded" due to the overwhelming support from blacks -- about 93 percent -- that Obama received at the ballot box last November, Fudge wrote.

The only current black member of Obama's cabinet, Attorney General Eric Holder, is a holdover from the president's first term.

Two advisors with cabinet rank, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, are black. Kirk has announced he is stepping down.

Obama previously caught flak for nominating a string of white men to cabinet posts for his second term, including Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and Jacob Lew as head of Treasury.

The president also gave the nod to John Kerry as secretary of state, after Rice withdrew from the nominating process amid a political row over Rice's handling of the aftermath of a deadly attack on the US mission in Libya.

In January, longtime Democrat and CBC member Charlie Rangel said it was "embarrassing as hell" that Obama had failed to nominate a person of color to his political inner circle.

Obama has yet to name replacements for the secretaries of commerce, labor and transportation.

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