Two Linden Councilwomen are protesting acting Union County Democratic Chair Colleen Mahr’s selection of Linden Mayor Derek Armstead as her running mate, saying that 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,” said Rashonna Cosby and Gretchen Hickey, both supporters of State Sen. Nicholas Scutari for county chairman.
Cosby is challenging Armstead in the Democratic mayoral primary in June.
“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,” Cosby and Hickey said.
Cosby and Hickey say that Scutari stood up to Armstead in their defense.
“We are sure this angered Derek, but Nick did what was right for us, the City of Linden, and for the Democratic Party,” Cosby and Hickey said. “He stood with us, and that is why we are proud to stand with him.”
The councilwomen criticized Mahr for for agreeing to form a ticket with Armstead.
“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,” they said. “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.”