Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Plainfield's Female Political Trailblazers

Listening to the Democratic National Convention today made me think of some of Plainfield's female political /activist/feminist trailblazers. Here are some names that came to mind:

Nelly Suratt
Helen Miller
Liz Urquhart
Lillian Jamar
Angela Perun
Donna Vose
Linda Carter
Dottie Gutenkauf
Joanne Hollis
Nancy Piwowar
Annie McWilliams
Flor Gonzalez
Eva Rosas-Amirault

and on our present City Council
Rebecca Williams
Bridget Rivers
Gloria Taylor
Tracey Brown
Diane Toliver

and the first African-American female mayor, Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

If you don't know some of these names, ask somebody. If you know and remember these women, tell somebody. And feel free to add more, so we can celebrate them all.



  1. Trudy Christiansen

  2. Thank you, Bernice. Other trailblazers who come to mind: Viola Dowe, Daycare leader; Libby Sachar, Judge; Evelyn Ricci, Councilwoman; Roberta Knowlton, Mayoral candidate; Trudi Christian, activist; Dr. Francis, PHS vice principal; Josephine Lapsley, medical scholarship for Muhlenberg; Marie Louise, superintendent Muhlenberg Hospital; Dr. Martha Tracy, researcher Colley Toxins; and there are many others.

  3. Councilwoman Gwen Cruse was the first elected official I met when I moved to Plainfield in 1983.

  4. We have some hard working and great women in politics in Plainfield. I will always be grateful for Dottie Gutenkauf and her guidance and don't forget Judge Gross who was fair and someone to be proud of. Thank you all.

  5. Bernice, you omitted former Councilwoman and Past Council President Faheemah S. El-Amin. Just saying.

    1. Yikes! My apologies. I was trying to picture the council table over the past 30 years and I knew I was missing people.

  6. Let us not forget Lillian Feickert who lived in Plainfield and then moved to North Plainfield. She was the first woman in NJ to run for US Senate.

  7. Pat Kavanagh Ann Louise Davis

  8. Kaye Cotignola

  9. I would like to recommend Nancy Jordan, as she is a valuable asset to Plainfield.