Booker and Menendez form historic duo as first black and Latino senators from the same state

By | October 22, 2013

When Newark Mayor Cory Booker joins U.S Sen. Robert Menendez in Washington, New Jersey will become the only state with two minority lawmakers in the nation’s upper house.

It also becomes the first state to have an African-American and Hispanic senator sit simultaneously.

What that means for New Jersey depends on whom you ask. Some say it won’t make a difference. Others say their ethnicities can’t help but inform their policies.

But one thing can be certain, New Jersey voters are somewhat unique in their embrace of ethnic diversity.

“It shows the relative strength of both the black and Latino electorate in New Jersey politics,” said Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University. “New Jersey is a state that has a robust Democratic Party ,and you’ve got whites who are willing to vote for candidates of color as well.”

Menendez and Booker both noted the historic aspect of their positions this week. (The Star Ledger)

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