The following is an Open Letter to Acting (Union County Democratic) Chair Colleen Mahr

Dear Acting Chairwoman Mahr:

We are both troubled and dismayed by your selection of Derek Armstead as your running mate for Vice Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

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It is our experience as elected councilwomen in the city of Linden that Derek Armstead is the epitome of the challenges facing women in politics – not the answer. We have both respectfully disagreed and spoken out against Mayor Armstead’s tactics and policies in the past. As a consequence, we have both been subjected to verbal attacks, internet smears, and election challenges to our council seats--led and supported by Derek Armstead.

Derek has employed bullying and intimidation tactics in his continuous effort to further divide the local Democratic Party. He has directed his energies towards replacing loyal Democrats on our governing body with members of his family. Making matters worse, he simply has an unwholesome record as a broker with women.

The person who stood with us – while Derek was trying to unseat us was Nick Scutari.  As Chair of the Linden City Democrats, Nick stood up to Derek and ensured we had the party’s full support.  We are sure this angered Derek, but Nick did what was right for us, the City of Linden, and for the Democratic Party.  He stood with us, and that is why we are proud to stand with him.

That fact that you have aligned yourself with a man who repeatedly targets women who stand up and speak out against him is very disconcerting, and with all due respect, calls into question your credibility as a candidate for the County Chairmanship position.

Based on Derek Armstead’s pattern of behavior in Linden, we fear how he would treat women across the county should they disagree with him. 


Councilwoman/Democratic Committee Member Rhashonna C. Cosby and Councilwoman Gretchen Hickey