Somerset County changes

I don’t post a lot of political stuff on this blog, but here’s an article from the Courier News that contains a few items worth noting:

  • This is the first time since 1965 that Democrats have controlled the freeholder board in Somerset County.
  • “Since the Democrats last had control, Somerset County’s population has more than doubled and the non-white population has increased from 3.2 to 32 percent.”
  • “About 70 percent of the county’s population was not alive when the Democrats last held control.”

So that seems like a pretty big change. Somerset County has certainly changed quite a lot just in the last 25 years, which is about how long I’ve been living here. I don’t know if the change in the freeholder board will actually matter much, in the grand scheme of things. But it’s an interesting change and it’s worth noting.

On a national level, it’s also been interesting to keep an eye on our new local House rep, Tom Malinowski, over the last year. He’s the first Democratic House rep we’ve had since I moved to Somerset County. I’m trying to figure out when Somerville last had a Democratic House rep, and it’s a little confusing, since we switched districts at least once. We’ve been part of the 7th district since 2000, I think, and the 7th hasn’t had a Democratic rep since 1980. Prior to that, we were in the 11th, where Rodney Frelinghuysen was the rep from 1995-2018, and the last Democratic rep was a guy who served from 1963 to 1984.

Back when Frelinghuysen was our rep, it just seemed like a given that he’d get re-elected every two years, and that was never going to change. In 2000, Michael Moore ran a ficus against him in the primary, to make a point about how House incumbents often run unopposed in primaries and how often they get re-elected. Frelinghuysen was part of a political dynasty that stretched back to 1793. (Malinowski, in contrast, was born in Poland and came to the US as a child.)

Anyway, Malinowski has made national news a number of times since he was elected, and it’s mostly been for saying something reasonable or doing something useful, which is refreshing. This recent New Yorker article has a few quotes from him. And his Twitter feed is a breath of fresh air, compared to a lot of the political discourse that you see on Twitter.

This whole ramble started because I was curious to see if there was any mention in the news of an anti-war protest that happened yesterday here in Somerville. I didn’t find any, but I did find an article about a protest in Woodbridge related to the “SeaQuest petting zoo aquarium” in Woodbridge Center Mall. I have to admit that I had no idea that “petting zoo aquariums” were a thing, nor that there was one in Woodbridge Center Mall. I should really get off the internet now and start doing something useful with my Sunday.

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