Like many Summit residents, one of my family’s favorite weekend activities is to spend time in the center of town shopping, running errands, grabbing a cup of coffee or lunch, and catching up with the friends and neighbors that we inevitably bump into. The more people I see, the better. I love it when the streets are bustling.
Recently, my children were excited to see a policeman on a bicycle. It reminded me of when Officer Monticello was often seen cruising the downtown on his bike creating a solid, reassuring feeling. It wasn’t just my children who were happy to see the cyclist cop – his presence left a wake of smiles as he rode past shoppers. A policeman on a bike in the center of town on a beautifully sunny autumn day is the type of special Summit scene that doesn’t occur in many other places. Although my children get a thrill when they see the policeman on a bicycle, I make sure that they understand that he is not riding the streets for fun – but that he is doing his job to make sure that the town remains safe for everyone to enjoy.
From my first visit to Summit as a high school boy with a part-time job painting houses, I sensed that a standard of excellence and pride in a job well done was emblematic of this community. It was, and still is. Summit was not just a zip code, it was a place to aspire to.
For the past 16 years I am grateful to call Summit my home, first as a single young physician, then as a newlywed and now as the father of three young children who my wife and I are proud to raise here and educate through the Summit school system. I have my livelihood, my home and my dreams invested in this town. I plan to bring my grandchildren downtown someday, and hope my contemporaries do the same. I don’t want to see Summit become a ‘K-12’ town, where our residents move out after the last child graduates from the 12th grade because it has become too expensive to live out the ‘golden years’ here.
One of the values I instill in my children is the responsibility of community service and respect for the dedication of those who offer their time and talent to the town. For years, I have made an effort to express my appreciation. I have the privilege of being a physician to local families, and extended my expertise in healthcare as president of the Board of Health as well as serving on the Board of the Red Cross. I have mentored high school students by establishing the “Tomorrow’s MDs” research program and look forward to supporting our public school system by extending the mentorship program to other fields. I have faced friendly competition as a coach of Summit Junior Baseball-what a thrill to make it to the play-offs! Each service is its own reward and I encourage involvement of more citizens in public service. Great towns such as Summit are not accidents. They are handed down from generations of people who cared to get involved, to the next generation.
Summit has a soul, while you cannot see it, you can feel it. You sense the vibe, young kids gathering downtown, seniors enjoying the restaurants and the safe streets, pedestrians appreciating the thought-provoking public art displays, mom or dad being picked up at the train station. This is exactly why the residents here smile, and savor quiet pride because these scenes capture how we live in our little piece of New Jersey –enjoying just the right mixture of culture with our unique brand of Summit-style charm. I have enjoyed the benefits of this community that have been handed down over the past century by an unbroken chain of dedicated public servants.
I hope to serve and do my part.
Robert Rubino, M.D.
Candidate for Common Council Ward 1