Legislative Hall in Dover was packed Tuesday as 17 new members were sworn into the General Assembly.
The House welcomed eight Democrats and four Republicans. The Senate added five new faces, four Democrats and one Republican.
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf said it’s the largest new class in more than thirty years. It’s also the most diverse in terms of gender and race.
State Rep. Stephanie Bolden said for eight years she was the only African American woman in the House. She’s now joined by State Reps. Sherry Dorsey Walker, Melissa Minor-Brown and Kendra Johnson.
Johnson said she feels blessed to be part of the new class.
“The House is now representative of, you know, of what our state looks like," she said. "So that is awesome! And it’s great for everyone, for the entire state.”
The total number of African American House members has grown from three to six this session.
Two new African American members join the Senate. Darius Brown replaces Margaret Rose Henry - the state’s second black state senator who retired last year. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman fills retired State Sen. Robert Marshall’s seat.