And Now, From Princeton Board of Ed to Congress? Daniel Dart Takes a Shot

Princeton, NJ – For the second day in a row, a Princeton resident whose name most recently has been associated with the Board of Education has announced a run for a political office. Daniel Dart, who served on the School Board from 2019 to 2022, will run in the June 4 primary for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 12th District of New Jersey, the seat currently occupied by five-term Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Dart will challenge Bonnie Watson Coleman in June 4 primary.

This article appeared first here on Tap Into Princeton.

By Richard K. Rein Published January 16, 2024 at 11:11 PM

Princeton, NJ – For the second day in a row, a Princeton resident whose name most recently has been associated with the Board of Education has announced a run for a political office. Daniel Dart, who served on the School Board from 2019 to 2022, will run in the June 4 primary for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 12th District of New Jersey, the seat currently occupied by five-term Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Dart’s announcement follows by one day that of Brian McDonald, whose first term on the School Board coincided with Dart’s. McDonald announced he would not seek reelection to the Board of Education and would instead run for Princeton Council in the fall. (Click here for the McDonald story.)

In an e-mail letter to friends and acquaintances and possible supporters, Dart explained that “Congress is broken. I heard the call and am compelled to announce my campaign for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 12th District of New Jersey. . . . We deserve a functional congress to move our nation forward. As a moderate Democrat with a proven track record, I will work with members of both parties to solve problems using common sense practical solutions.

“It’s time for new leadership and change. Last year, despite over 700 votes, only 27 bills became law, one of the worst years for productivity in modern history. Below are some of the important issues that I intend to highlight:

•            The need for a strong, growing economy with stable prices.

•            Securing the southern border and immigration reform.

•            Protecting our environment.

•            Protecting our freedoms including the freedom to choose.

•            National Security.

“I believe in term limits,” Dart continued. “The incumbent is a career politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly for 17 years and is now running for her sixth term in Congress. She will be 79 years old on February 6. After 27 years of service, it’s time for new energy and leadership.” (Dart will be 68 on March 31.)

Reached late in the day on January 16, the Bonnie Watson Coleman for Congress campaign provided this statement:

“Congresswoman Watson Coleman has always welcomed individuals to the process. She is proud of the work she has done on behalf of residents throughout the district and looks forward to continuing to speak with constituents about her critically important work on behalf of New Jersey taxpayers. In particular, the work she has done to bring taxpayer money home from Washington as a member of the Appropriations committee.

“The Congresswoman also knows that we are at a crossroads in our nation’s history with the looming candidacy of Donald Trump and she intends to again be on the front lines in the fight for democracy.”

Compared to Watson Coleman, Dart is a newcomer to the political scene. School Board elections are non-partisan, but prior to running for the board he was registered as a Republican. In part because of the party’s move in the direction of Donald Trump, Dart identified more with the Democrats.

He says he did not seek backing from groups such as the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) because “my understanding is that official Democratic organizations remain neutral in the primary. However, I have received excellent feedback from Democrats and Independents and am strongly encouraged by the support expressed. In addition to Democrats, I am expecting very strong support from Independents who represent more than 2.4 million of New Jersey’s 6.5 million registered voters. Independent voters who desire to vote in the Democratic primary in person on June 4 can declare their party affiliation at their polling location and vote.”

Dart is no stranger to taking on the establishment. As a member of the Princeton Board of Education, he ruffled feathers on several occasions. His campaign biography, excerpted below, refers to several of them:

Meet Daniel Dart

Daniel Dart is a strong, common-sense leader with a broad track record of success in education, community, and business. . . . Dan served as an elected member of the Princeton Public Schools, Board of Education. He co-led community efforts to replace an ill-conceived $137 million facilities referendum with a $27 million referendum saving over $110 million for the schools and community.

When the Superintendent reduced staff by 3% due to poor fiscal management, Dan advocated as a member of the Personnel Committee to rehire or replace most of the critical teaching related positions that were eliminated.

As a member of the Student Achievement Committee, Dan obtained increased funding to audit the Special Education programs that were disproportionately classifying kids of color. Many of these children were English language learners who simply required more language supports.

Dan served six years as a Trustee/Treasurer for the Watershed Institute in Pennington, New Jersey. The Watershed’s mission is keeping water clean, safe, and healthy. Their critical work is protecting and restoring our water and natural environment in central New Jersey. He continues his involvement with the Watershed Institute today as an Advisory Board member.

Under Dan’s leadership as Chair of the Investment Committee of the Corner House Foundation, the portfolio was successfully restructured, costs reduced, and the investment returns improved. These changes provided increased funding for the Foundation’s mission to prevent and treat alcohol and drug addiction by engaging and supporting youth, adults and families in life-long healthy living and recovery. Dan is a former leader in the investment management industry with a reputation for growing successful businesses. Dan served as a Chief Operating Officer at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers in Plainsboro, New Jersey. He led a team that transformed a business from a loss to a profit and grew assets under management from $4 billion to $32 billion in a short period of time.

Raised in Boston, Dart graduated from the Boston College School of Management. He and his wife, Tracy, have lived in Princeton for 22 years. Their two daughters both attended Princeton Public Schools.

Daniel Dart for U.S. Congress

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