Assemblyman Ronald Dancer dies at 73, spent two decades in Legislature

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Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, R-Ocean
Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, R-Ocean

State Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, a Republican representing New Jersey’s 12th Legislative District, died Saturday at age 73.

A graduate of the Peddie School in Hightstown and Rutgers University, Dancer served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2002 until his death.

“I am saddened to learn of the loss of a true gentleman in New Jersey politics. In his two decades of public service in the Assembly, Ron Dancer was always someone who strived to work across the aisle,” Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex) said in a statement. “A veteran himself, he leaves behind a legacy of advocacy on behalf of our military men and women. He was also a champion for New Jersey’s agricultural and horse racing communities, and contributed greatly to innovative expansions of our state’s tourism – most recently being the sponsor of legislation that will widen economic opportunity for our wineries and farms."

Dancer represented parts of Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties. Of the municipalities in Monmouth and Ocean counties, he served Allentown, Englishtown, Jackson, Manalapan, Millstone, Plumsted, Roosevelt and Upper Freehold.

"True to his roots in one of New Jersey’s storied equestrian racing families, in public service he was a work horse not a show horse. A proud veteran with a quiet demeanor and humble nature, Ron built friendships across the aisle." Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. "Our state flags will be lowered to half-staff in his honor and memory. His wife, Brenda, their children and grandchildren, and the entire Dancer family are in all of our thoughts this weekend."

Sen. Jon Bramnick, a Republican representing Morris, Somerset and Union counties, said in a statement, "(Dancer) was truly a man of integrity, civility, and love for everyone. Ron Dancer should be a model for all elected officials. I would only hope that people will learn from this great man."

Dancer was also the mayor of Plumsted from 1990 to 2011 and a member of the township’s planning board from 1983 to 2019. He has also served in Ocean County as a member of the Board of Social Services, the Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee, the Senior Citizens Advisory Board and the Human Services Advisory Council.

“His absence will certainly be felt by all of us in the Assembly and by the residents of Ocean County he faithfully served. We extend our most heartfelt prayers to all family and friends mourning him,” Coughlin said.

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OliviaLiu is a reporter covering transportation, Red Bank and western Monmouth County. She can be reached at

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: NJ Assemblyman Ronald Dancer dies at 73