Within the past week, Assemblywoman Linda Stender—who championed issues to advance women and families- announced she would not seek reelection. Members of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey (WPCNJ) rallied behind Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr as the best candidate to fill the seat. Mahr has a long track record of leadership and her years of accomplishments would make her a wonderful addition to the Legislature.
Mahr is in her third term as the popular Mayor of Fanwood, Vice-Chair of the Union County Democrats, and Former President of the NJ Conference of Mayors, among many other endeavors. Mahr has worked with suburban neighboring towns to head the Mayors’ Coalition for the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) and has utilized her economic development experience in cities like Roselle and Jersey City. She has also championed key women’s issues and is one of the few Mayors who worked at the local level to challenge the Governor’s veto of $7.5 million in women’s health funding.
Beyond her credentials, Mahr’s selection would boost the number of women representing us in Trenton. Upon Stender’s departure, just one of the six legislators in Union County will be a woman. Women currently hold 36 of the 120 (30%) New Jersey Assembly and Senate seats. Women are steadily losing ground in New Jersey—as that number will dip to 35 seats—below 2009 levels—with the loss of Stender.
Last night, we were extremely disappointed that the Union County Democratic Municipal Chairs chose former Rahway Mayor Jim Kennedy over Colleen Mahr, by a 4-3 vote, to succeed Stender. We are closely monitoring developments in the 22nd Legislative District as they unfold. At just 30%, women’s representation in Trenton remains abysmally low. WPCNJ is dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected and appointed positions at all levels of our government—and clearly we still have a lot of work to do.
WPCNJ, founded in 1972, is a chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus, and is the authoritative voice for women in New Jersey politics. WPCNJ is a multi-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected and appointed positions in government, protecting reproductive freedom, and promoting equal rights for women.