(Editor’s Note: This year, two at-large seats are up for grabs on the South Plainfield Borough Council. Democrats Jon Dean and Sandy Doyon are running against Republicans Melanie Mott and Peter Smith. Council terms are three years and profiles are being published alphabetically, alternating by party, as follows: Dean, Mott, Doyon, and Smith. Election Day 2019 is Tuesday, Nov. 5.)
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Democrat Jon Dean, a lifelong resident, is seeking re-election to his second consecutive term on the South Plainfield Borough Council. He was first elected to the council in 2016 and currently serves as liaison to the borough’s environment and health committee and is a member of both the recreation and public works committees.
Dean is a 1997 graduate of South Plainfield High School and principal owner of A-Tech Landscaping. He is a former member of the South Plainfield Fire Department, the borough’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and the South Plainfield Planning Board. Currently, he is active with the Lion’s Club and through his business is the sponsor of the organization’s annual Touch-A-Truck event. Dean and his wife, Kathryn, have three children, ages 7, 5, and 3.
Dean said he is seeking re-election because he cares about the town and wants to continue to see it improve. He feels the role of a councilmember is to work with the governing body for the betterment of the residents. “As elected officials, the residents are trusting us to do what is right for the borough; that’s a huge responsibility. We have 23,000 residents who are relying on us to make the right calls for our borough,” said Dean. “We are doing good, but there is always room for improvement.”
According to Dean, ‘recreation is a top issue’ in the community today. “The dynamics of the town have changed; we have a much younger generation and new residents here now, and I am a big believer in recreation programs for our kids,” Dean said, telling TAPinto South Plainfield that in addition to developing new programs he would also like to see additional borough parks revamped.
“We built a couple of new parks but forgot about the other parks… [despite] pinpointing key problem areas and things that need to be done,” Dean said. “I will continue to work on to ensure that these [parks] are taken of.”
Economic development and the revitalization of the downtown, added Dean, are among the other issues currently affecting the borough. The two, he said, go hand-in-hand. “We all see the comments on social media when a certain type of store is moving in. Everyone wants to see the town go in a better direction,” he said. “We need to work on improving that and bringing better businesses and restaurants so that our residents are shopping and eating out in our town.”
The councilman feels that working with the property owners and redeveloping the borough’s downtown would ‘drive people in.’ “Whether it is new storefronts, little cafes on the bottom, nicer restaurants…stuff like that will draw people to that area,” Dean told TAPinto. “Everybody loves going to Metuchen, Cranford, Westfield, and other towns that have thriving downtowns. It’s not that we can’t do it; we have the right location.”
Dean feels the role of a councilman is to ‘keep a close eye on things to ensure the borough is operating at the highest standards and in the most efficient way.’ He is most proud that, during his tenure, a Democracy Day was held with the residents approving the revitalization of the South Plainfield Community Pool. “That was big. It wasn't just my decision or the mayor’s. We knew it was going to cost a lot of money, and we wanted the residents to decide,” he said, noting that many of the residents he has met while out campaigning this year have voiced how important the pool is.
“When I ran three years ago, I wanted to see the pool revitalized. I had no idea what shape it was in and that it would end up being closed,” said Dean. “You’d be surprised how many people are telling me that they moved here because we had a community pool. So many families rely on it and now we will have a revamped, modern, and up-to-date facility with a spray park. Reinvesting in our town is always a top priority.”
According to Dean, what sets South Plainfield apart is that it is a ‘close knit community.’ “Through good times and the worst of times, the residents always come out to support each other and are willing to help one another. That’s what makes South Plainfield such a great place to live,” he said.
Residents, said Dean, should re-elect him on Nov. 5 because, over the last three years, he has produced ‘good results,’ ‘made great decisions,’ and ‘worked well with the mayor and fellow councilmembers.’
“I care about the town a lot and I am dedicated to serving. I am not one to sit back. My goal is to see our town continue to improve and I am dedicated to getting things done,” he said.
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