Democrats usher in the first black female floor director in U.S. Congress

Shuwanza Golf, the new House floor director

Shuwanza Golf, the new House floor director

BY JIBRIL TURE

One of the striking features of the unprecedentedly diverse U.S. Congress that was sworn in this week is the position of floor director being occupied by an African American woman, Shuwanza Golf.

The position of floor director may not be a high-profile one, but it is an essential one in the U.S. Congress. In this position, Shuwanza Golf assists her boss of ten years, now-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, manage the Democratic Party’s agenda. She is responsible for scheduling bills leaving the committees and heading to the floor for vote, while the office of the new House Majority Whip, James Clyburn, makes sure the votes are there for passage. The floor director’s duties also involve managing weekly meetings with the minority whip (Republican side) for her boss, and managing procedural requests for the quick passage of noncontroversial bills. She also works in collaboration with the House committees and the Senate to some extent, and even with the White House.

In her previous position as Congressman Hoyer’s director of legislative operations, Golf was responsible for working with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to determine where they stand on bipartisan matters.

In an interview with POLITICO about her new job, Golf reportedly said about her new job: “It’s a little daunting, but it’s also exciting.”

With regards to the diversity of the new congress, she said: 

I am obviously aware of the fact that on the Hill we need to do a better job when it comes to diversity […] I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of really good mentors, and I’m hopeful that in my role as the first African-American to have this position and to be in a senior role that I am able to help more junior staffers find their way, climb up and eventually consume and take over some of these more senior roles as well.”

In a statement to POLITICO, Golf’s boss, congressman Steny Hoyer, said:

As a member of my staff for over 10 years, Shuwanza has developed strong relationships with members and staff on both sides of the aisle, demonstrated deep understanding of floor procedure, and exhibited good judgment and political instincts […] The House will continue to benefit from her intellect, hard work, and dedication.”

Shuwanza Golf, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, holds a Master’s Degree in political science from the American University in Washington, D.C. She began her career in Congressman Hoyer’s office in 2008.

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