In fact, Gage said the governor was surprised to learn that no Democrats were in the group. He noted that the legislation creating the commission does not set any requirements regarding partisan affiliation. The only requirement is that members be African American.
As part of the selection process, applicants were interviewed by Gage and top-ranking African Americans in the administration, including Department of Economic Development Director Tony Goins, Department of Health and Human Services CEO Dannette Smith and HHS Communications Director Khalilah LeGrand.
When making the final choices, Gage said the governor looked for gender balance, geographic diversity, representation of immigrant communities and diversity of age and vocation. Under the governor’s long-standing policy, members of the media were not considered.
“The office received many outstanding applications, and the commissioners who have been appointed are highly accomplished individuals who come from diverse backgrounds,” Gage said.
A total of 35 people applied for a position on the commission.
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