SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Deanna Dell Bene, a life-long resident of Scotch Plains, has been selected by the Scotch Plains Republican Committee as the party’s candidate to run for the vacated council seat in the November election.
Dell Bene was unanimously elected by the committee, according to local GOP chair Paulette Coronato. The election this November is to fill the final year of unexpired council seat vacated by Josh Losardo when he became mayor in January. Losardo appointed Suman Dahiya-Shah to serve in his vacated seat. In November 2022, the seat will again be contested for a full four-year term.
“Deanna has accomplished more in her young life than many of her older peers,” said Coronato, adding that Dell Bene’s involvement in Scotch Plains makes her “an exceptionally qualified candidate.”
Dell Bene recently completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Kean University and hopes to put her training and experience to work for a non-profit organization. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Union County College, where she minored in Criminal Justice and was co-founder of the Criminal Justice Club.
Currently, Dell Bene is a Scotch Plains Recreation Commissioner and an Affordable Housing Advisor Committee member. She also is president-elect for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Rotary Club and co-vice president of Scotch Plains-Fanwood UNICO, the Italian-American service organization. She also is a PAL cheerleading coach.
Dell Bene says she is seeking a position on township council to advance the recreational facilities and programs and to better serve the needs of the community. She also hopes to develop a stronger relationship with the Board of Education to better serve the needs of our youth. While maintaining the town’s residential qualities, Dell Bene is committed to providing affordable housing and stresses its importance as the township faces more court reviews in 2025.
“I believe the life experiences I have had growing up in Scotch Plains combined with my volunteerism and education will serve me well as a council member on the Township Council,” Dell Bene said in accepting the nomination. “I will act with transparency and honor as a public servant. There is a reason each and every one of us lives here. There is something special about Scotch Plains, and I look forward to working to preserve the uniqueness of our hometown.”
The Republican candidate says that one of the most important things to do is ensure the progress of downtown redevelopment established four years ago under Mayor Al Smith.
“Throughout my years of volunteering with various organizations, people would say ‘You’re going to be mayor someday.’ It was a very flattering,” said Dell Bene, who credits the late Councilwoman Rose Checchio as a mentor.
“My motto is: Principles Over Party. I became close with Rose during her last year. It didn’t matter that she was in the Democratic party, she saw truths and held to her principles,” Dell Bene told TAPintoSPF.
“Being selected by the Republican committee is humbling. I am the person I am today because of the impact that the Scotch Plains community has had on me,” she said. “I want to advocate for residents and businesses and dedicate my time and energy to the community. I am proud to throw my hat in the ring.”
Dell Bene knows the journey won’t be easy. Even if she is elected, the Democrats would still hold a 4-1 majority on the council.
“I hope I can inspire others to get involved and balance out the township council. One party rule -- no matter what party -- can be dangerous,” said Dell Bene, who claims Italian and Egyptian lineage. “I admired how Al Smith worked bipartisan fashion and was inspired how he did that while maintaining his principles. It is healthy to have people of different views come together and work collaboratively on things.”
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