Somerset County is a metropolitan and ceremonial county located in New Jersey in United States. It comprises of several townships. Census was recently conducted in 2010 revealing that Somerset County hosts over three hundred thousand persons. This was an increase in population since 2000 exceeding eight percent. Thus, Somerset County is listed among the most populated regions in relation to county rankings. Somerset County is acknowledged for engaging in agricultural activities. For years, the population increase in the county has led to growth, development, and expansion of the county into a suburb. This was witnessed between 20th and 21st Centuries. Somerset County hosts persons from various races, cultural backgrounds, and religion as it is rich in diversity. More so, people are able to live peacefully without experiencing religious, cultural, racial, and ethnic conflicts. As a result, Somerset County has been nominated severally among the best places to reside in United States. It was also ranked at position seven in 2000 as the best and wealthiest county in United States. It records high per capita income listed at position eleven among thirteen counties in United States (Forstall, 2012).
Somerset County name originated from a county in England. People visited the area and settled down in 1681. Somerset County was officially founded under a charter in 1688. The county was mainly involved in agricultural activities. At the end of the 19th century, Somerset Hills were populated with wealthy and influential persons aligned to industrial activities. This was mainly attributed to the activities witnessed in a New Jersey due to World War I and II. Although the origin of the name Somerset is still unclear, researchers assert that it was named after a founding father known as Benjamin Franklin. It is also said that it was named after William Franklin an illegitimate son of the founding father. William Franklin was acknowledged as the last loyalist in New Jersey from 1763 to 1776 (Snyder, 2010).
In 1997, William Brahams authored several books such as “Images of America: Franklin Township”. He also authored a book titled “The Case for William Franklin and The Case for Benjamin Franklin”. He applied a similar theory in discussing the origin of Somerset County. The theory affirmed Somerset County was named after Benjamin Franklin. It was impacted during the revolutionary war described as a scene of several raiding parties. County raiding was facilitated by British soldiers under the rule of two British Generals known as DeHeister and Cornwallis. The generals were tasked in ensuring the raiding army was lured to new battle fields mainly East Millstone and Middlebush. However, another army under the leadership of General George Washington ensured the soldiers were safeguarded in the north of Franklin County. When the British army withdrew, farms were massively destroyed signifying a retreat (Patrick, 2010).
In 1777, at least six hundred military troops were sent to engage in battle seeking to approve settlement in New Jersey. This led to growth, development and expansion in New Jersey. Somerset County also expanded joining Philadelphia and New York. Consequently, tons of commodities were shipped using canals on barges further increasing growth and development of Somerset County. The activity of shipping commercial products also increased due to the use of railroads. Consequently, the massive traffic jams witnessed in canals reduced. As trade and commercial activities increased and improved, new trading sections within Somerset County were established. Dutch settlers were the owners and managers tasked in controlling and maintaining operations and functions in the region. Somerset County was therefore founded in May 1688 forming part of the New York Metropolitan region. It is described as suburban community inclusive of townships with strong industrial activities. These activities are attributed to presence of technologies, innovation and pharmaceutical dealings (Patrick, 2010).
Somerset County is based on a total area estimated to exceed seven hundred square kilometers. The total area comprises of ninety nine and one percent land and water respectively. Since land area covers at least ninety nine percent of the area, it facilitates agricultural activities to take place. In 2010, a country census was conducted across various States and counties in United States. Statistics revealed that, over three hundred thousand persons reside at Somerset County. More than one hundred thousand households and eighty thousand families are hosts at the Somerset County. Thus, the population density at Somerset County is estimated to exceed over four hundred square kilometers. More than one hundred and twenty thousand units are utilized to house an average of one fifty eight square kilometers in relation to population density (Forstall, 2012).
Somerset County hosts persons from diverse races. At least seventy percent persons residing at Somerset County are grouped within the white community. More than eight percent are grouped as African Americans or Black community while the rest are grouped as Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and other minor races including Latinos and Hispanics. Among the households, over thirty five percent are children aged above eighteen years. Fifty eight percent are married couples living under the same housing unit while at least nine percent persons account for single mothers. Non-families residing in available housing units were recorded at over twenty eight percent in 2010. With regards to elder persons, Somerset County census records accounted them at over eight percent. Thus, more than twenty three percent households comprise of individuals below the age of sixty five years. On average, a family size is recorded at 3.22 and the household at 2.71 (USC, 2010).
Somerset County hosts persons ranging from young children below eighteen years old and adolescents or teenagers. The county also comprises of adults and elderly persons aged above sixty five years old. Thus, the median age at the Somerset County is between forty and forty one years of age. With regards to gender distribution, a census conducted in 2010 revealed that females are more than male. For example, only ninety five male were recorded for every group of one hundred females. However, males aged above eighteen years of age exceed females within the same age group (USC, 2011).
Local, State and Federal Government Agencies
In 2010, the African American community recorded a nine percent growth rate within Somerset County. Thus, Somerset County recorded presence of at least twenty eight thousand nine hundred and forty three African American citizens. For a decade, Somerset County has recorded an increase in African American persons exceeding twenty nine percent. Consequently, several townships and municipalities record presence of African American persons. Townships include North Plainfield, Bound Brook, Montgomery, Hillsborough, and Franklin. The Census Bureau in United States describes African Americans as people with origins from the black race located in Africa. Thus, a race is defined as a combination of biological, genetic, and anthropological aspects applied to describe a person (USC, 2011).
Agencies offering help and assistance to local ministries and Para-churches can be governed on domestic, state, and federal levels. The Combined Federal Campaign is listed as an authorized agency established in 1960s. It is solely tasked to coordinate operations and functions in ministries and organizations. Combined Federal Campaign comprises of local ministries aligned to charity work. In order for Combined Federal Campaign to conduct charitable activities across Somerset County, it ought to comprise of a structure aligned to religious ministries in the county. More than one hundred and eighty campaigns are conducted annually under Combined Federal Campaign policies and regulations. Federal and State employees collaborate with local ministries, labor unions and charitable organizations to formulate policies. Policies and regulations formulated through a board of committee members are implemented to ensure day to day activities at Somerset County are equally beneficial to all races residing in the region. For example, they ought to ensure African Americans are able to access education, acquire employment, and lead a comfortable life. Thus, funds are collected under Combined Federal Campaign guidelines. Federal employees are tasked in accounting how collected funds are utilized through local and fiscal agents and ministries. They should be aligned to Combined Federal Campaign goals and objectives (Patrick, 2010).
Combined Federal Campaign comprises of various ministries and agencies undertaking charity work and campaigns at Somerset County. Agencies and ministries ensure levels of poverty are declined. They also strive to ensure local, State and Federal bodies collaborate in establishing basic amenities such as hospitals, schools, and social facilities for youths and adults to utilize in enhancing their talents. For example, the ABC Charity Ministry is tasked in reducing spread of diseases among African Americans. It is also tasked in ensuring hunger and poverty across various townships at Somerset County decline immensely. Lastly, it is tasked in promoting effectively and efficiently innovated solutions that are community based in order to create employment (USC, 2010).
These measures are aligned to Somerset County goals and objectives in creating and enhancing self-reliance, food security, economic and social justices. Although partaking in Combined Federal Campaign tasks is voluntary, persons attending various religious and educational facilities within Somerset County are encouraged and motivated to join various agencies and ministries. Combined Federal Campaign ministry and branching agencies ensure African Americans, Asians, Native Americans and other minor or oppressed races residing at Somerset County are able to lead independent and peaceful lifestyles. Thus, they provide people with skills and resources to improve standards of living on a personal, county, State and country level (Patrick, 2010).
Social, Political, and Religious Background in Somerset County
Somerset County is among the oldest counties in United States. Thus, it has experienced diverse changes in relation to social, political, and religious aspects. For example, it comprises of several townships acknowledged for agricultural activities. Over the years, Somerset County has witnessed growth and development. This is coupled with innovation and advancing technologies attributing to modernization and industrialization replacing agricultural activities. Townships that were once considered as greenest regions across New Jersey State such as Warren have since lost this title. This can be attributed to high number of persons from New York commuting through New Jersey using trains and railroads. Historical sites at Somerset County include Statue of Liberty, Princeton Battlefield, and renowned beaches. They attract locals and tourists attributing to socio-economic and cultural growth and development in the area (David, 2013).
Commuters access various social amenities available at New Jersey State. For example, they use train stations to visit housing units, hotels, health care centers, and several areas endowed at New Jersey. People are also encouraged and motivated to access and utilize several services including avatar pottery, cleaning services, and comfort inns and suites. Recent news related to Somerset County affirmed people visit the region for dances at Imperia. They also attend sporting activities such as Patriot Baseball games conducted at the Bridgewater’s TD Bank Ballpark. A poll was conducted to evaluate how different races at the Somerset County contribute towards socio-economic growth and development. Black or African Americans contribute at least three percent in taxes. The remaining earnings are collected from Italians, persons from white community, Irish and other Native American groups (Forstall, 2012). Thus, ministries and agencies tasked in improving economic levels at Somerset County should formulate policies aligned to enhancing African American economic status.
Somerset County strives to ensure crime rates decline gradually in relation to petty and aggravated offenses. For example, numbers in relation to registered sex offenders at Somerset County have been very minimal. This can be attributed to reduced rates of unemployment in the region. People at Somerset County seek employment as computer specialists, engineers, supervisors in industrial companies, farmers, drivers, salespeople, small, medium, and large commercial ventures, and educational services among others. A chart was produced comparing level of employment at Somerset County and other counties within New Jersey State. The chart indicated that more male and female persons are able to acquire and retain a job at the Somerset County than other townships in New Jersey (David, 2013).
There are several middle and high schools as well as colleges and universities available for persons residing at Somerset County. They are either private or public providing educational services to people residing at the Somerset County. More so, there are religious facilities at Somerset County tasked to provide spiritual growth and development. Churches located at Somerset County include Eternal Life Church Center, Saint Sharbel Maronite Church, and Emanuel Baptist Church among others. People residing at the Somerset County are religious and believers mainly aligned to Christianity. Thus, majority of Africa American citizens are Christians. Somerset Christian College is among the most common religious facilities located in the county (David, 2013).
Somerset Christian College is found at the center of Somerset County. It has headquarters in various townships at the county. This facility is also accessible to commuters from New York as it is located thirty miles from Ney York City. Somerset Christian College serves all communities residing at the country. It is a perfect blend of modern industrial, residential, agricultural, and graceful county estates. People who qualify to enroll in this religious facility are not restricted due to race, nationality, ethnic origin, color, or disability among other differentiating factors. The policies applied at the facility assert that, educational services and programs provided at the centre are beneficial to people from various origins and backgrounds. However, there are requirements for persons to be enrolled and admitted at Somerset Christian College (Patrick, 2010).
Foremost, they should be believers and committed towards learning more on Christianity. They should also be ready to dedicate their lives in order to live in sanctity on personal, social, and economic levels according to religious scriptures. The faculty, administrators, staffs, and students ought to develop and nurture a relationship strong to achieve and sustain the mission and vision statements at the centre. Persons at the center are encouraged and motivated to live as a family. Thus, the vision and mission statements were developed aligned to family conditions. They seek to encourage people to have personal integrity, love, discipline, and pure hearts that can positively influence Somerset County. Thus, the center also holds chapel services, group meetings for prayers and bible study while providing meals. These services provide a platform to spread Christianity within the county’s townships (Snyder, 2010).
Somerset County is governed by a board of chosen freeholders comprising of five members. The members are elected to serve a period of three years in office. However, political policies at the county allow for two or more seats to be developed during an election year. Annual reorganization meetings are held during the first Friday of January every year. The board members are required to attend the meetings in order to vote and select a director and assistance director. In January 2014, the following board members were available at the Somerset County annual reorganization meeting. They included Patrick Scaglione who was voted as the director, Mark Caliguire selected as deputy director, Peter Palmer, Robert Zaborowski and Patricia Walsh. Somerset County constitution asserts that political leaders should represent both genders. Thus, political aspects at Somerset County are widely acknowledged for striving to maintain conservative measures in the region (Patrick, 2010).
Presidential elections in United States reveal a political pattern at Somerset County. For example, George Bush gathered more votes that John Kerry from the Somerset regional voters. Consequently, Barack Obama is ranked as the first Democrat seeking for presidency to gather massive votes from Somerset County voters. The voters provided Obama with enough votes to defeat Republican Mccain with a margin exceeding six percent. Somerset County has been described as a conservative republican region. However, the people residing in the region can also vote a Democratic president. The president should promise to formulate and implement political policies that can conserve the country while fostering economic and social growth and development. The legal provisions in the county prohibit against several offenses. These offences include fraud, abuse of power, and embezzlement among others. Political leaders found guilty of these offenses face serving a period in jail, paying a fine or /and both (Snyder, 2010).
Somerset County is a reserved region in United States. It has strong economic and social aspects further aligned to political policies applied in governing the county. The county is also governed by policies aimed at promoting peace, growth and stability in a region hosting persons from different and diverse races and cultures. Although the white community occupies a larger region of Somerset County, African Americans are also awarded with equal opportunities. They are allowed to hold positions of authority in religious and political ministries. The county constitution asserts that, discrimination is unethical and illegal. Instead, people should come together to ensure they foster social, economic, and political growth and development in the region. Thus, African American religious and political ministries should be supported to undertake their functions and operations more effectively and efficiently.
David, S. (2013). The Pillar College, Somerset College Catalogue Report.
Forstall, R. L. (2012). Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 from the Twenty one Decennial Census, United States Census Bureau Report.
Patrick, S. (2010). , Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau Report.
Snyder, J. P. (2010). The Story of New Jersey’s Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey.
United States Census (USC). (2010). A Demographic Snapshot: Somerset County Planning Division Planning Chair Forum, United States Census Board Report.
United States Census (USC). (2011). State and County Quick Facts for Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau