NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Amid much pomp in a packed auditorium at Middlesex County College, county Freeholders Ronald Rios and Shanti Narra took the oaths of office for new terms Monday in ceremonies marked with the presence of numerous elected Democrats, from the local, county, state and federal levels, including Gov. Phil Murphy.

"As Middlesex County, so goes the state of New Jersey," Murphy said in brief remarks at the beginning of the ceremony at the college in Edison.

Rios, who has served as freeholder since 2008 and was re-elected to a new term last November, was sworn into office at the ceremony Monday and then re-elected as director of the freeholder board. Narra was also sworn-in to a new term, with state Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) administering the oath of office.

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"I would like to thank the voters of Middlesex County for being brilliant," Smith said of the re-election of Narra and Rios.

Among the other elected officials who spoke at the ceremony were Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th District) - who other speakers noted is now chair of the House of Representative Energy and Commerce Committee - and Rep. Bonnie Watson Colman (D-12th District) along with state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), and state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex).

"New Jersey's in very good hands," Colman said, referring to Murphy and the state legislators.

Democrats control all nine seats on the freeholder board, along with the offices of the sheriff, surrogate and clerk

Rios, in his speech after being sworn into office, said the county will be focusing on four initiatives, including transportation.

"Transportation is a challenge," Rios said in announcing that the freeholders will create a county Department of Transportation.

Two projects that will get attention from that department are the development of the long-proposed North Brunswick train station, and improvements to the South Amboy Intermodal Transportation Center, a hub that involves rail and bus transportation, along with dealing with automobile traffic and the long-anticipated ferry service to Manhattan.

Rios said the county will also focus on health care, noting that this spring, RWJBarnabas Health Systems is expected to begin management of the county's long-term health care facilities in Edison and Old Bridge.

In the area of economic development, Rios said the freeholders were initiating a program called "Destination 2040," to involve all municipalities in the county in planning "what Middlesex County needs to be and what Middlesex County will be in 2040.

Rios also said the county will also increase support and expansion of arts and cultural programs. The freeholder said that arts programs bring in visitors and increase the economy of communities.