MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Michael Summersgill, the Republican candidate for the Maplewood Township Committee, took the time to answer some questions from TAPinto SOMA about his campaign and personal life.

Summersgill was born into a military family near Fort Ord in California, and later moved with his family to Fort Dix near Trenton, NJ. After living in New York with his wife for several years, they made the decision to find a town in New Jersey to raise a family.

Now a father to two daughters, ages 2 and 5, Summersgill wants to take steps to help the Township of Maplewood run more effectively. He gave credit to the Maplewood Republican Committee for supporting his campaign, even though a Republican candidate has not been elected to the Maplewood Township Committee in the past 23 years.

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“The town is better served if we break up this political monopoly in Maplewood,” said Summersgill. “I think it’s an advantage to bring a different perspective to the discussion.”

Summersgill has also made an effort to reduce waste by selling digital lawns signs, which can be purchased ($26 each) and shared online to benefit several local organizations like the South Mountain YMCA.  He stated that he plans to match half of the purchases with a donation of his own at the end of the campaign, win or lose.

Summersgill said that Maplewood’s close relationship with the train line to New York is both a “unique strength and a dangerous weakness.”  He believes commuters with jobs in New York are very dependent on the train line, and he would’d like to see Maplewood explore other options like private charter buses.

Summersgill also emphasized that his campaign is focused on “correctly reducing local taxes” and following through with every issue brought to the Committee.

“There’s a 91-year-old veteran in Maplewood that has a gully behind his house littered with trash, and when he came to the Committee with the issue it wasn’t resolved,” he said. “I would make sure it was completely finished.”

Summersgill stated that his only concern with his campaign is that Maplewood voters will vote down the Democratic party line on Election Day, effectively voting for the party above the individual candidate. Even though he hopes all voters will fairly judge each candidate, Summersgill is confident in Maplewood’s ability to identify with his beliefs.

“In Maplewood, you kind of forget there is a sizable population of Republicans. They go from all ages and walks of life, but we all have a lot of the same ideas.”