Women taking over elected districts in NJ

For some, Election Day 2007 will be remembered as the day women took over.

Fourteen women were elected to fill open seats in the state Senate and Assembly. Currently, women make up a little more than 28 percent of the state?s elected districts. Some feel this year, female candidates could take advantage of retirements, indictments and those looking for change.

Teresa Ruiz is one example. The 34-year-old, first-generation American was elected senator to represent the 29th District. She was born and raised in Newark?s North Ward and was elected into her first office in a district that has an African-American majority. Ruiz is also the state?s first female senator of Puerto Rican descent.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, three years ago the state ranked 43rd in the nation for women holding legislative office. With Tuesday?s election, New Jersey now ranks 15th.

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