The changing face of politics: More women and people of color enter the fold

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SOMERVILLE -

The new class of Congress sworn in Thursday is said to be the most diverse group ever, with more women and more people of color taking seats to represent the American people than ever before.

This changing face of politics is said to even be happening on the state and local level.

Gov. Phil Murphy Friday swore in the newest members of the Somerset County Board of Freeholders. It included Sara Sooy, the first Hispanic person to take a seat on the board, and Shanel Robinson, the first African-American voted into the office.

“This is a day and age where we need all people to be represented, but at the end of the day, regardless of parties, you have to be leaders for all people,” Robinson says.

Friday’s swearing-in makes the Somerset County freeholders board not just more diverse in terms of race, but also gender. For the first time, women hold a majority of seats on the board.

“This is the year of the woman. I’m excited to be part of this and humbled, very humbled for the opportunity to have this experience,” Robinson says.

And as for why more women were elected this year?

“I think people just needed to be asked the question, ‘Will you run?’ and more women asked each other and we decided to go out and run a hard campaign,” says Sooy.

Both of the new freeholders are Democrats, the first Democrats male or female, to be elected onto that board since the early 1980s.

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