Rep. Cheri Bustos responds to criticism over national committee’s diversity

KEITHSBURG, Illinois-- Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is facing criticism from fellow democrats over her leadership of a key political organization.

Rep. Bustos leads the Democratic National Congressional Committee, which helps attract new candidates running for the House. But some fellow Democrats say she failed to include enough people of color on her staff.

"Sometimes you have mistakes that are made, and you're not doing as well as you should be doing," Bustos said of the large organization.

She became the chairwoman of the DCCC last year. Now, several senior lawmakers are raising alarm.

"There is not one person of color, black or brown that I'm aware of, at any position of authority or decision-making in the DCCC. It is shocking, it is shocking and something needs to be done about it," Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio told Politico.

Bustos was in Washington D.C. Tuesday to meet with House Caucus Leaders representing minority groups to talk about the problem.

"What we need to make sure, at the top of the structure, that we have true diversity that reflects our great nation from the top to the bottom," Bustos says. "And that's what we'll work on, and we have a big sense of urgency about."

Some Democrats locally and nationally are standing by Bustos.

"Having been involved in local politics for serval years, I've had the opportunity to work closely alongside Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. I have witnessed her commitment to ALL the people she serves. Her efforts to train a wide range of diverse of individuals across our state to run for office have been relentless," Knox County Board President Pam Davidson said in a statement.

Davidson also referenced Bustos's training boot camp program as a source of empowerment for women and people of color to run for office.

Cheri’s training boot camp program ‘Build the Bench’ has empowered women and people of color to run for office, like myself. I've seen her passion for inclusion firsthand and know she is the right person to lead our party to success in 2020."

The infighting comes as both Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for the 2020 elections, leaving some worried it will hurt Democrats' chances of winning.

"We will go into November 2020 as strongly as we possibly can," Bustos says.

She says she will attend diversity and inclusion training next month with the rest of her staff.

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