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Do These People Really Represent Us?

NJ Legislature State of the State 2010
Tim Larsen, Governor's Office

Newly elected members of the State Senate and Assembly have taken the oath of office, and the 2012 Legislative session has officially begun. Their “mission” so to speak, is to represent the people of the Garden State – but is that what’s really happening? Some have their doubts.

Peter Woolley, the Director of the FDU PublicMind Poll says “the question of whether the Legislature is really representative of New Jersey depends on how you define representative…if you’re looking at how people look, for example, it’s not so representative.”

He points out the Legislature always tends to lag behind the population in terms of some basic demographics – “so for example, the Legislature is always more male than the rest of the population, it’s whiter than the rest of the population, and certainly it’s older than much of the population.”

Woolley also says once a lawmaker is elected, it’s usually very hard to get rid of them, because of the way district maps are set up.

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