Women winning record number of Freeholder seats in N.J.

Ashley Bennett won a seat as Atlantic County Freeholder in the most recent election (Bennett for Freeholder)

Ashley Bennett won a seat as Atlantic County Freeholder in the most recent election (Bennett for Freeholder)

A new report shows New Jersey is getting closer to gender balance in county government.

A record 41 female county freeholders will take the oath of office in New Jersey next year says Debbie Walsh of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.

“Making up 30 percent of all the freeholders in New Jersey, and while 30 percent is not quite close to political parity, it is a sign of steady improvement. This past year we were at 28 percent, it’s slow progress, but it’s progress in the right direction,” she said.

Walsh says the women are also diversifying.

“Fourteen of the 41 women are women of color — that’s six black women, five Latinas, and three Asian American women, but there’s a long way to go there for diversity as well,” she said.

Walsh says they continue offering non-partisan classes to help more women enter politics.

Walsh says the presidential election of 2016 seems to have spurred more women to run so they can be a part of the conversation. She expects more women on the ballot in future years.

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