A state legislator from Ocean County who served in the General Assembly for nearly 20 years has died after a long illness.

Ron Dancer's career as a public servant spanned over three decades. The Republican served as Plumstead mayor from 1990 to 2011, then as an assemblyman representing the state's 12th Legislative District from 2002 until his death.

Gov. Phil Murphy said on social media that state flags would be lowered to half-staff "in his honor and memory."

"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," Murphy said. "The entire Dancer family is in all of our thoughts this weekend."

Dancer's peers in the Legislature from both sides of the aisles, including Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, remembered him as a dedicated public servant.

Dancer, R-Ocean, graduated from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He served in the Army from 1969 to 1971, then worked as a professional trainer and driver with the Stanley Dancer Horse Racing Stables until 1994, according to a brief biography from the NJ Assembly GOP.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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