Why Are There No Black Cabinet Picks?

CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge says African-American voters are wondering the same thing.

Posted: 03/11/2013 07:30 PM EDT

Female: Check. Latino: Check. African-American: Not Yet.

As President Obama stocks his second-term cabinet, he's checked off some key demographic boxes except one that some believe is crucial — Black.

In a letter sent to the president Monday afternoon, Rep. Marcia Fudge, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, called him to task for not adding any African-Americans to his team of top advisers.

Fudge said that Obama's picks so far "have hardly been reflective of this country’s diversity" and Black lawmakers aren't the only ones asking questions.

"Congressional Black Caucus offices have had numerous phone calls from constituents questioning why none of the new appointees will be able to speak to the unique needs of African-Americans," Fudge wrote. "Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you’ve received from the African-American community. As you continue choosing your critical advisers, we want to stress the importance of ensuring every community has a seat at the table."

Obama came under fire earlier this year when he chose white males to fill the most powerful slots at State, Treasury and Defense. Since then, he also has named nominees to head the Energy Department, Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and the Office of Management and Budget. None of the candidates are African-American. The president is expected to nominate Thomas Perez, who heads the civil rights division at the Justice Department, for Labor secretary.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who will soon step down, and Attorney General Eric Holder are the only African-Americans in cabinet-level positions.

"The absence of diverse voices leads to policies and programs that adversely impact African-Americans," Fudge wrote, adding that she is disappointed that none of the candidates the CBC has recommended for cabinet positions have "received the consideration they deserve."

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