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Old Bridge resident recalls when women were first allowed to vote

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OLD BRIDGE – Mary Baumann was born in Cleveland in the summer of 1919, a little more than a year before women were constitutionally granted the right to vote.

Almost a lifetime later, the 97-year-old a resident at Roosevelt Care Center at Old Bridge casted her ballot for the Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate.

“I’ve been a Democrat all my life because of [Franklin D.] Roosevelt — he brought in the jobs,” Baumann said in a statement prepared by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority.

Baumann was barely walking when legislators ratified the 19th Amendment to guarantee American women their entitled independence.

“I think it’s a lot different today,” she said, citing advances women have made in both industry and the military.

In her 20s, Baumann took to manning the polls in the Fords section of Woodbridge, conducting voter outreach in a much different fashion than one might see in the modern era of social media, television commercials and digital campaigns.

“I would knock on doors and ask them if they voted,” she said.  “Then I’d take them to the polls. I’d never ask or tell them who to vote for.”

Baumann, who spent much of her career in retail and as a nanny, said she is proud to see her female descendants professionally climb to the ranks of “executive” and “physician’s assistant.”

“Women are more educated … and ambitious today, and it’s a wonderful thing,” she said in the statement.

Still, according to Baumann, lawmakers fall short in leveling the playing field for this nation’s women in one glaring arena.

“Women should get the same pay as a man, if they’re doing the same work,” she said.

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