Maplewood Township Candidate Profiles: Dean Dafis & Vic De Luca

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Two candidates are running uncontested for two seats on the Maplewood Township Committee this fall: Dean Dafis and Victor De Luca. Dafis and De Luca won an uncontested Democratic primary in June. No Republican or independent candidates have filed to run. Election day is November 7, 2023. The following is from Dafis and De Luca:


With so much at stake this Election, including all 120 seats of the NJ Legislature and when progressive values and human rights are at the center of many contested council and school board races across the state, voting (and getting out the vote) is critical for strong and effective incumbents up and down the ballot who have truly represented the communities they serve.

It has been our honor to serve the public and we are proud of our efforts to keep Maplewood an open and welcoming community. We believe both of us have been effective leaders on the Maplewood Township Committee, serving as Mayor and Deputy Mayor, and as chairs of key committees.

We’ve been very visible and responsive during our time in office, whether attending community meetings, festivals, cultural events, and new business openings throughout town or convening meetings to address our residents’ concerns about pedestrian safety and traffic calming, environmental sustainability, responsible economic development, police and community relationship building, and arts and culture.  We’ve also been strong advocates for regional collaborations, expanded state aid, and state legislative reforms.

Dean Dafis (left), Victor De Luca

Some of our recent accomplishments include:

  • Beginning the construction of the new 21st Century fossil fuel free Maplewood Library
  • Operationalizing the South Essex Fire Department to better protect lives and properties in Maplewood and South Orange
  • Launching a new CERT [Civilian Emergency Response Team]
  • Adopting our new Master Plan
  • Expanding our Crisis Intervention Social Worker Program to work with first responders in dealing with mental health crises and emergencies law enforcement isn’t equipped to handle
  • Building greater organizational and administrative support around our Community Fridge
  • Opening multiple new businesses
  • Moving forward redevelopment opportunities to provide more housing and economic opportunities
  • Securing multiple grants toward infrastructure improvements (for roads, drainage, sewer lines, stormwater mitigation), pedestrian safety enhancements, Springfield Avenue commercial corridor & surrounding neighborhood related enhancements, EV charging stations
  • Developing a Community Energy Plan and working on increasing our sustainability efforts (and Sustainable Maplewood rating)
  • Launching a Mayor’s Wellness Campaign and completing a community health assessment which have been recognized by NJ as best practices in community health & wellness
  • Beginning the formation of an All Access Committee so that our recreational and other community services are more inclusive of those with special needs
  • Raising our voices on statewide issues and international crises

Beyond Maplewood, both of us have worked with Mayors and other elected officials around the state and nation to fight for responsible gun laws, tax reform, affordable housing, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change solutions.

We’ve been very active in the Democratic Party, working on local, state and national campaigns to elect more Democrats, including getting out the vote for Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill to help her win a resounding victory.  And, we played key roles in Deborah Engel’s historic election to the Township Committee.

We ask for your support in the 2023 election for Township Committee. We look forward to continuing our efforts to make Maplewood the best it can be to live in and raise a family and to be a strong voice for progressive policies and practices.

Yours truly,

Dean & Vic



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