Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) said the state should at least consider clumping up some of the state’s South Asian communities to improve their representation in the New Jersey Legislature.
“It definitely is something to look at. My district actually used to have a larger South Asian population, and a couple of towns – West Windsor and South Brunswick – were taken out of the 14th. We did have a larger population at that time, and there were some South Asian people that tried to run. It didn’t happen, but they did try to run, so those are considerations,” Greenstein said. “It’s definitely something that should at least be looked at.”
There are sizeable South Asian communities in the state, particularly in Middlesex County, which Greenstein represents, but those communities tend to be underrepresented in the state legislature.
Currently, there are only two legislators of South Asian descent representing New Jersey, Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City).
Slightly-dated figures from the New Jersey Department of Labor estimated that, in 2010, there were close to 400,000 South Asians in the state, and 750,000 Asians overall — or about enough to control three legislative districts – six Assembly and three Senate seats.
The largest chunk of those residents, about 104,000 lived in Middlesex County, though no South Asians represent the county in the state’s legislature.
Should the lines be redrawn in favor of South Asian candidates, that could affect the political career of some white legislators currently in the central New Jersey delegation.