I stand for re-election to Common Council after what I think have been three of the most successful years in Council’s history.
I’d like to first thank the residents of Summit for giving me their confidence three years ago and for their support ever since. It’s truly heartwarming to have thankful residents - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - coming up to me in restaurants, on the streets, at back to school nights, and on the sidelines of football and lacrosse games recognizing the sacrifice serving on council can sometimes be.
And, I’d like to extend a special thank you to my fellow council member Doctor Rob Rubino who joined me on this journey three years ago and I am now proud call a good friend. I thank him for his leadership as council president while patiently trying to accommodate what one resident recently, and accurately, described as seven “fiercely independent” members of Common Council. Summit can do no better than Rob Rubino and he has my unequivocal support for re-election.
Three years ago, at this very forum, we all anxiously watched as the snow began to fall outside as part of an unseasonable October snowstorm just two months after Hurricane Irene. We all remember the devastation, some of the worst in Summit’s history. It was remarkable to see our community pull together to recover only to be devastated again by Hurricane Sandy just 12 months later. The experience and memories of the days and weeks following these disasters not only strengthened our resilience, but reinforced our character as a community – A character defined by a spirt dating back to the American Revolution, a community determined to move forward no matter what. From the American Revolution to September 11th, Summit has been tested, and passed each test, always moving forward. I truly believe we are that shining city on a hill President Reagan often spoke of.
This spirit has guided me during my first term on council as I’ve sought to leverage this remarkable character to enhance our community. Along with my fellow members, and the enthusiastic support of Mayor Dickson, council has been action oriented and results driven, determined to make Summit an ideal community in which to live, raise a family, operate a business and even retire. We’ve eliminated the cynicism and polarizing antics from council replacing it with respectful, deliberative discussion and debate on issues that actually matter to our community.
We’ve worked with the county and our state legislators, through respectful, but honest, discussion, recognizing their commitment to make Union County a better place but also ensuring they understand the negative affects the county tax burden, fueled by county spending and redistributed disproportionately on us by the state, has on our community.
We’ve cut city taxes for the first time in anyone’s memory. But, we’ve done it smartly, without compromising services, education or public safety. We’ve brought discipline to City Hall, seeking to extract as much value as possible from existing taxpayer assets through better use of technology, expanded shared services between city departments and neighboring communities, and through effective management and inspirational leadership. Most importantly, we’ve ensured our city is safe with our police and fire departments being the best equipped and best trained as they’ve ever been.
I’ve had the honor of serving on council with six other independent thinkers from diverse backgrounds – medicine, law, banking and technology and with my fellow veteran and Annapolis graduate Rich Madden. Each one an experienced and intelligent professional dedicated to finding solutions that work for Summit. We certainly don’t agree on everything but we do agree on getting results and moving things forward.
Finally, I’d like to thank my family for supporting me in my efforts on behalf of the city. Serving on council can be challenging and taxing on children and spouses and mine have been supportive of me above and beyond the call of duty. Most importantly, I’d like to thank my wife Cindy, a Summit native who brought me here 19 years ago, after standing by me during my eight years of service as a Navy pilot through multiple deployments, including one war. I thank God every day for bringing us together and giving us four wonderful children. And, I want to again thank the residents of Summit for their support and I look forward to serving you for another term on council.
Thank you and may God bless each and every one of you.
Patrick J. Hurley
Member, Summit Common Council, Ward II