The Hill Quotes Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Arshi Siddiqui on K Street Diversity

In its article “Pressure on K Street to reflect growing diversity in Congress,” The Hill has quoted Akin Gump senior advisor Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and public law and policy partner Arshi Siddiqui discussing diversity in the lobbying industry.

The article reports that the new Congress includes a record number of women and minority lawmakers. “It’s incredible that Congress is taking the lead [on the topic],” said Ros-Lehtinen, who served in the House of Representatives for almost three decades. “They force that little old lady to cross the street whether she wants to or not.”

For her part, Siddiqui, a former senior policy advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, admitted, “Certainly, K Street needs to do better,” but added, “I think this new class of freshmen will help speed up this process.”

According to the article, the November elections brought new highs in the number of women and several minority groups. The Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus are also seeing record memberships.

Speaking of those working on K Street and the importance of mentoring new talent, Ros-Lehtinen said, “If you just hire someone based on the way they look or their background, that’s not going to get you very far. You have to look at the whole package. If we do our mentorship in the correct way, you’re going to have the whole package. A certain demographic is going to get you through the door but it’s not going to help you land a job or a client.”