TRENTON, N.J. – Assembly Republicans today are mourning the death of their colleague, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer. He was 73.
A New Egypt native, Dancer was serving as Plumsted Township mayor in 2002 when district Republicans tapped him to fill a vacancy created by Assemblyman Melvin Cottrell’s passing. He most recently served on the Assembly agriculture and food security, military and veterans’ affairs, and tourism, gaming and the arts committees.
“Ron’s 20 years in the Assembly are marked not only by his tireless efforts to serve his constituents, even during his illness, but his willingness to work across party lines to accomplish what he believed was best for all New Jerseyans,” Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio (R-Warren) said. “He was a true patriot, statesman, gentleman, and my good friend. He will be sorely missed. My prayers and those of our conference are with his beloved wife Brenda and their family.”
Dancer served in the United States Army from 1969-1971. At home, he professionally raced and trained horses for 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father Stanley Dancer, the Hall of Fame Harness Horse Racing driver.
Dancer has been a tireless advocate for the farming community, the horse racing industry and taxpayers. Notable legislation enacted into law include: allowing for special occasion events on preserved farms; providing funding to increase horse racing purses; and allowing municipalities to establish programs to encourage local shopping through property tax rewards.
“No service member who ever stepped foot in New Jersey had a greater ally than Ron. His most powerful pieces of legislation honored and protected those who selflessly serve their fellow countrymen.” DiMaio added. “Likewise, his passion for agriculture and horse racing is evident in the bills he sponsored to strengthen and safeguard those industries.”
For nearly 40 years, Dancer volunteered for numerous groups, including the Ocean County Board of Social Services, which he chaired; the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee; the Ocean County Senior Citizens Advisory Council; the New Jersey Horse Racing Commission; and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Sire Stakes Board.
“Ron has left us with a legacy that serves as a beacon for public servants now and New Jersey leaders of the future,’ DiMaio concluded. “Ultimately, it’s not about Republican or Democrat; it’s about the people we serve. Ron served the people well.”