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Garfield Council Members Mix Family And Politics

Left to right: Deputy Mayor Joe Delany, Yvette Delaney and Council Member Erin Delaney
Left to right: Deputy Mayor Joe Delany, Yvette Delaney and Council Member Erin Delaney Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Erin Delaney

GARFIELD, N.J. — There's an old expression that if you want to keep things civil at the family dinner table never bring up politics.

The Delaney family has taken a different approach.

Father and daughter duo Joe and Erin Delaney were sworn into Garfield's city council earlier this month.

This is the first election and government position for Erin Delaney, while her father has served the city in some form for over 25 years.

"I’ve had every title the city has to offer," Deputy Mayor Joe Delaney said.

When Joe Delaney was a school board member, he would frequently bring along family members to meetings. Most of the family didn't show a fondness for political life, but Erin took a keen interest.

"I liked hearing what he had to say, and figuring out what I thought," Council Member Erin Delaney said.

Her interest persisted through the age of 17, when she decided to make a public comment to Garfield's city council. The city was planning to lay off police officers to save money, but Erin thought there was a better solution.

"He’s always raised me to have my own opinion and be vocal about it. That’s what encouraged me to go to that council meeting," Erin Delaney said.

Now 25 years old, Erin Delaney is part of a trend across the nation of young political figures. According to Joe Delaney, this younger generation's interest in politics is a new thing.

"When I was 25 years old... I had no interest at all," Joe Delaney said.

"It’s refreshing. Everything from social media to young ideas."

He attributed today's availability of information as a potential reason why young people are more willing to get involved.

The duo may have approached politics at different times but they share similar political views.

"We’re both democrats, that’s always a plus. That doesn’t mean that we agree on everything," Joe Delaney said.

Joe Delaney referenced the 2008 democratic primaries as an example of their disagreements. Joe supported Hillary Clinton while Erin supported Barack Obama.

Erin Delaney described their disagreements as being on the same path but taking different routes to get there.

The duo touched on the topic of their independent views during their swearing in.

Joe Delaney remarked that his daughter is an independent person and "always will have her own mind." On this topic, the two agree.

"He could not be more right," Erin Delaney said.

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