TRENTON - The New Jersey Senate has 10 women after Dawn Addiego (R., Burlington) and Linda Greenstein (D., Middlesex) were sworn in Monday.
With just one-quarter of the 40-member upper house female - the highest number ever - Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex) and other legislators pressed the need to boost their ranks.
"I'd be happy to get to 50 percent to represent our numbers in the population out there," said Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D., Bergen).
Greenstein, who was an assemblywoman, defeated Sen. Tom Goodwin, who was appointed to the position in March, in a special election last month to fill the unexpired term of Bill Baroni, a Republican who left the post this year to become deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Addiego, also a former assemblywoman, was selected by the Burlington County Republican Committee last month after Sen. Phil Haines was appointed to a Superior Court judgeship.
The overall number of women in the Legislature is unlikely to change. Twenty-four of 80 positions in the Assembly are filled by women, with Lumberton Committeeman Pat Delany being appointed to replace Addiego and several men being considered to replace Greenstein.
Diane Allen, another Republican senator from Burlington County, said after the ceremony that the Legislature needs more women, in addition to lawmakers from minority groups, to reflect the state and districts they represent.
She said county organizations for many years selected candidates from a bench "very deep with white men."
"It was an old boys' club," said Allen, who was one of four female senators when she was sworn in 12 years ago.
But she said Burlington County has promoted women, noting that two of the Senate's female members are from there, and that she has not been treated any differently by male lawmakers.
Addiego said that people are typically promoted within a county party organization to run for office, and "so I think it's all a product of leadership in the individual parties in any particular county. And I'm fortunate that I was in a county that looked for those opportunities."
Camden County Democrat Donald Norcross also was sworn in as a senator Monday. He was appointed by party members last year to fill the post of Dana L. Redd, who left to become mayor of Camden, and won a special election last month.