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March 25, 2013

With 35 of the current New Jersey's state legislative representatives women, representing 29 percent of its elected officials in the state legislature, the Garden State ranks 11th nationally in terms of the percentage of women elected to its legislative branch, according to the Center for the American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University. Twenty-three of these are Democrats (eight in the Senate and 15 in the Assembly) and 12 are Republicans (three and 9, respectively).

Only two women have ever been elected to statewide office, however; former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican who served in that position from 1994 until 2001, and current Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, also a Republican.

Only five women have ever represented New Jersey in the U.S. Congress. Most recently, Marge Roukema, a Republican, served from 1981-2003; Millicent Fenwick, also a Republican, served from 1975 to 1983; Helen Stevenson Meyner, a Democrat served in Congress from 1975 to 1979; and Florence Price Dwyer, a Republican, represented New Jersey from 1957 until 1973.

The fifth, Mary Teresa Norton was both the first woman from New Jersey and the first female Democrat in the nation to serve in Congress. Norton, who was from Jersey City, served 26 years, 1925-1951, the longest of any women from the state.

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