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Colonia Councilman Bob Luban Won't Seek Reelection; Wants to Run for State Senate

Twenty-eight year Woodbridge Council veteran Bob Luban is seeking to run as a Republican to nab 19th District incumbent State Senator Joe Vitale's seat.

After 28 years in office, Woodbridge Fifth Ward Councilman Bob Luban announced he won't seeking reelection after his term expires at the end of this year.

But Luban isn't retiring from politics.

The announcement of his retirement from town council coincided with another bit of news: Luban will be seeking to run on the Republican ticket for the 19th District State Senate seat.

"With all my years in government, I know how to get things done," Luban said.

"I'm going to do the same thorough job for the people of the 19th District as I've done for my constituents in Colonia."

If Luban garners the Republican nod at the county convention next month, he'll be facing long term incumbent State Senator Joseph Vitale, a Democrat.

One thing Luban said he knows, and that's how to take care of quality of life issues.

"It's why I was reelected over and over again," he said. "I'm the longest serving councilman in the history of Woodbridge."

'Luban makes the difference'

Luban's reputation for solving problems is so widespread, the Colonia councilman gets calls from residents all over the township, even those outside his ward. The one slogan he's used in his reelection campaigns for 28 years - 'Working for you....Councilman Bob Luban makes the difference' -  he's never changed.

"I like it because it's true. I get things done. People know that. They know if they call me, they'll get a response from me. They get a call back.

"I've always been square with them. If I can't resolve their issue, I tell them. Word gets out when there's a politician who says what he'll do and then does it," he said.

Luban, who said he passed more ordinances than most council members, is proud of his long record of quiet, substantial achievements.

He authored ordinances that dealt with graffiti, parking, barking dogs, property maintenance codes, and other issues that impact the lives of township residents.

Because of his leadership, he said, builders were forced to erect buildings an additional 25 feet away from stream banks. New home builders who didn't want to install sidewalks were allowed to do so with council approval. Luban added an ordinance that required them to pay a percentage of that fee into a township fund.

That money is now used to repair sidewalks and curbs throughout the township, he said.

Because of the councilman, you can't leave a barking dog outside after 10 pm. He also added an ordinance that requires users of movable pods to get permits to have the trailer-type structures on their property.

"That's to make sure that someone doesn't rent one and plop it on their front lawn for six months or more," Luban said.

Other Luban achievements go beyond local bread-and-butter laws.

Authored Megan's Law before the state enacted it

One that he's most proud of is the Woodbridge version of Megan's Law. "We had that before the state enacted it. We were the first to do it," he said.

Luban also fought a plan that would have situated entrances and exits to the Parkway in Colonia.

"I fought Clark Township and the Parkway on that. We won," he said with a smile.

Ninety percent of a councilman's job "is resolving issues. We have to evalate problems and see if it's something that township should get involved in," he said.

Marriage and political partnership

The person who shares his workload is his wife, Lorraine, who is a member of the township Planning Board and vice chairwoman of the local Republican organization.

"Remember being a councilman is a part time job. When I was at work, Lorraine would take calls and get the ball rolling," Luban said. "She's my partner in all of this."

The couple has been married for 43 years, almost the entire amount of time they've lived in Colonia. The Lubans have two grown daughters and six grandchildren. Both girls attended Woodbridge parochial and public schools, he said.

The family attends St John Vianney Church, and Luban is a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

In his political career, Luban has served on the state Council on Affordable Housing, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, the Middlesex County Economic Opportunities Corporation and the Woodbridge Planning Board. He still sits as a commission at the Rahway Valley Sewage Authority.

Luban has spent most of his political life as a Republican, but he changed parties twice. Both times, he said, was because of fiscal disagreements with local officials.

Hopes to work with Gov. Christie

"I'm a fiscal conservative. I care about money and how it's spent, and if we can afford what we're spending it on."

Fiscal responsibility is a passion he shares with Gov. Chris Christie. "I've attended his town meetings. The governor strikes a chord with me."

The councilman said he agrees with Christie's positions on fiscal matters. "He says what should be important and he's devoted to getting the state on track, to avoid the economic woes caused by overspending," Luban said. "We are in complete agreement on that.

In terms of Woodbridge, only former Council Vinnie Martino has beaten Luban in longevity. When he turns 70 this year, Luban will also hit another milestone: he'll have been the oldest councilman in the body's history.

"Age is only a number," Luban said. "I've never, in my recollection, ever missed a critical vote on the council or any other body I've been on.

"I'm fit and healthy, and I can't wait for the next challenge in my political career, representing constituents in the 19tth district as their state senator."

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ken russo February 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Good luck, Bob! You have my vote and support.
Tom Maras February 20, 2013 at 01:38 PM
FYI. If you think Bob Luban is the only one moving off the town council, think again. L O N G serving and current council president Charley Kenny is rumored to have gotten the nod from the Democratic bosses to move up to the "position" of Middlesex County Freeholder. Of course ,the formalities of an election need be dealt with, and is there is a possibility Charley could have some serious competition for the coveted position. As to Charley's replacement on the council, or as to who the Woodbridge Dems will pick to run for Bob Luban's council seat; perhaps the editor of the Colonia Corner will provide further insights to that question in th near future
Robert Johns February 20, 2013 at 02:52 PM
So Bob didn't "get the nod" from the Republican County Chairman to run for State Senate? Charlie could have some "serious competition" yet he "got the nod" only one sentence earlier? The Dems already picked Debbie Meehan to run for Bob's seat and Bob is only giving it up rather than face the sure fire fate of a loss to her. He figures he can try and trade up and lose big rather than face the voters of his own Fifth Ward again and suffer a worse fate of losing there. Now he can blame Carteret and Perth Amboy when he loses. And oh yeah I can't wait for the full article on Joe Vitale when he gets the Democratic vote to run. I am sure you will publicize all of the candidates equally. NOT.
unknownauthor February 20, 2013 at 03:47 PM
@Bob. Not sure where you are trying to go with your post. Surely, you know if a candidate gets the party line, they got their respective party leader's "nod"! So Woodbridge Dems (aka, the MacPak) got Ms. Meehan to run for the 5th Ward Council seat. Well, let see how see avoids any conflict of interest between her political objectives, party loyalties and her Colonial Corner Publisher/Editor role. How "objective" will/can she be in writing for or against any Woodbridge Township political candidate? So who's Mac putting up for Charley's council seat? Perhaps the young woman from 20 Lemons or does he have another women in mind. Actually, a woman dominated town council, regardless of their political affiliations, would be refreshing and, most likely, highly entertaining. OMG, one can only image the Mac jokes and quips that would come about, should that shift in council gender come to fruition! Just think, for example (I'm joking, of course) how one might make book on the Mac Filly in the 5th!
Irina February 20, 2013 at 04:11 PM
"Because of the councilman, you can't leave a barking dog outside after 10 pm" But I guess it OK for you to allow puppy mills to operate within Woodbridge??? Geeze to do have your priorities SCREWED UP! Barking dogs are bad, dead dogs are OK.
bob lunsden February 20, 2013 at 05:04 PM
what he jumps parties with the change in the wind direction
unknownauthor February 20, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Generally speaking, most municipalities have ordinance to control noise and set times the noise can start and must end. With two Scotties, I can say they love to bark (great watchdogs), but I don't let them out too early or too late, out of consideration for those in the neighborhood. The town council doesn't, as far as I know, license pet shops or kennels. The Woodbridge Board of Health and the state do! Perhaps, they should be more vigilant about who gets a license and gets to keep it!! It truly is to bad that one bad one reportedly was not stopped, before any animal or person had to suffer. I guess it helps to have 'friends' in high places!
unknownauthor February 20, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Not exactly a new phenomenon in Woodbridge or beyond. There is a long list in the township, isn't there. Wasn't Mac a Republican, before he switched. Was that before or during his McGreevey years? Anyway, Luban is in the "right" party now! ;-)
Deborah Bell (Editor) February 20, 2013 at 06:40 PM
The primary isn't until June, and Vitale will be the Democratic candidate if he chooses to run again, and there's no reason to believe he won't. Of course I'll do a story on Vitale, and long before the primary. The story on Luban is news for two reasons: he's a long-standing Republican councilman in Woodbridge, and he's not running for reelection, and. Luban is also choosing to run for the Republican nomination for state senate. I hope this helps you understand how the news process works.
bob lunsden February 20, 2013 at 07:32 PM
i agree but is he going to stay
Robert Johns February 21, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Does anybody remember what happened in 2011 when Mr. Luban ran for Mayor in the Republican primary? He lost to Christopher Struben who went on to lose to McCormac in the general election 3-1. Does this sound like what would happen if Luban really worked for people in all five wards? Luban lost four of the five to Struben. Vitale will simply use the Struben playbook and remind everyone that Bob got a cushy job from McGreevey and saw his pension jump from $5,000 to $50,000. People really hate that. One issue alone and Bob will be toast. Couldnt the Republicans find someone else to run? Someone without a lousy record of returning calls and emails? Someone who shows up at things? This will be a slaughter.
unknownauthor February 22, 2013 at 07:43 PM
@Robert Johns. It is amazing how much the photo you are using looks like Rush Limbaugh. Are you related? Tell us, do you feel anyone that works or has worked for the government should not be entitled to pension? Do you know who brought John McCormac to Trenton and that Mac and Bob worked together in Trenton? Of course Bob left Trenton after Mac, and under entirely different circumstance. And when it comes to pensions, what is your opinion of the following: NJ Public Employees, 2011 Name JOHN C MCCORMACK County NA Location TREASURY-DIVISION OF TAXATION Pension fund Public Employees Retirement System Pension group Veteran status Pension enrollment year 1977 Base salary, 2011* $93,460 Number of jobs* 1 Total salary, 2011* $93,460
Robert Johns February 22, 2013 at 08:55 PM
You can't be that bad. That is not how the Mayor spells his name. His middle initial is E not C. He did not work for the State in 2011, he worked for the Town. And I doubt he was working in 1977. And what is your point anyway. Luban is a pension padder, pure and simple. Someone who makes money in 3 years of a regular job in the system should not have that salary be the basis for his pension when the other 25 years he was only a part time Councilman. Can you defend that system? It's an albatross that Struben capitalized on with no money and Vitale will hang Luban with it in a real campaign.
unknownauthor February 22, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Sorry for the copy and paste error. Look at the following and do pay attention to the "Pension Enrollment Date", that being 1993. And just who got Mac into the pension system back then? So, do you think Mac isn't getting a pension contribution for his time in Trenton, or did he waive it out of remorse for his performance there? Anyway, he as this: NJ Public Employees, 2011 Name JOHN E MCCORMAC County Middlesex Location WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP Pension fund Public Employees Retirement System Pension group Veteran status Pension enrollment year 1993 Base salary, 2011* $81,716 Number of jobs* 1 Total salary, 2011* $81,716
Robert Johns February 24, 2013 at 08:11 PM
I am sure he is getting a pension like everyone else. The point is that he has worked full-time for every dollar he will earn like most normal people. Luban worked three years of full time work and 25 of part-time Council work but his pension is based on the full 28 years. That's pathetic. Luban is the kind of person to blame for the pension system being broke. He mad $80,000 for three years and gets a $50,000 pension for life. Try selling that to the residents of the 19th district. When Struben brought that out Luban lost his own town and four of the five wards. Enough said. We Republicans need a better candidate.
unknownauthor February 25, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Once again, you read like Mac's poorer version of Obama's White House press secretary. Yeah, everyone one believes Mac work full-time for every dollar taxpayers will be paying for his retirement. Good thing he didn't destroy the the State Pension Plan while he was Treasurer, right! The Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) lists him as having only one job. And how about Councilman/Fireman Charles Kenny, who is the system for pensions as a councilman with a current (2011) $8,420 salary and as a fireman at $116,524. Of course, if (when) he ascends from Councilman to Freeholder, those stats will change. And Charley is only one of so many that are or will one day do well with PERS! Anyway, the records show Bob Luban entered the PERS in 1986 and left it in 2008 with a $40K pension. He accumulated 268 months of service. Do you think Bob Luban, Charley Kenny or most others in PERS created it? Do you think everyone getting what the system provide for is, in your words, "pathetic"? If so, express your indignation to your local legislators, those being, Sen. Joe Vitale, or Assembly members Craig Coughlin and John Wisniewski. Of course, at least one of those representative might have first hand knowledge of how to rack up pension benefits. And, frankly, if you are a Republican, Barrack Obama is a closet member of the Tea Party!
Robert Johns February 25, 2013 at 04:52 PM
You keep making my case. McCormac and Kenny are full time public servants. They get a pension. Luban was a part-time public servant whose pension is based only three years of public service in a full time job. Do you really think Luban deserves a $40,000 pension for three years of making $80,000? Know anyone in the private sector with such a deal? Do you support that? Did Mac ruin the pension system, or people like Luban who take pension padding jobs for only three years? He has to wear this. Struben hurt him with it, Vitale will crucify him with it. Luban is what is wrong with the system.
unknownauthor February 25, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Part 1 of 2 @ Robert Johns. You certainly have a case of something. Obviously, a case of common sense is not one of your difficulties. So Mac (ugh) and Kenny are full-time public servants. Of course, they aren’t waiting for their turn to cash-out of the system. Is Kenny's pension for sitting on the town council based on full-time public service? R And how about Kenny's use of sick-time benefits, from his full-time public servants job, to attend college. That's okay with you? It sure was with Mac, as may be recalled from Mac's robocalls supporting Kenny's last run for town council. Try checking your facts for a change. First it was a $50K pension, now you know it is only $40K (a 20% lower figure) for Luban, based on 268 months of full and part-time public service. You still have the salary upon which his pension is based wrong. Do your homework and check the records. Do you think Luban went to Trenton as a full-time public servant knowing he only had three years to work full-time? It is my understanding Luban left when the Corzine administration was downsizing and offering state employees buyouts, owing to big budget problems, due, in no small part to the State Pension Fund debacle. Did Corzine offer Mac a buyout or did he just throw him out? If you know.
unknownauthor February 25, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Part 2 of 2 @ Robert Johns. Yeah, the system may stink but, again, I ask you if Luban created the system or did he just take what the system in which he worked had to offered? What other systems, public or private have to offer is immaterial. They are what they are. That said, it is too bad teacher don't get the same treatment as other government, employees, like fireman, police, elected officials and other civil servants! As to Sen. Joe Vitale, for a big spending liberal, he is a likable guy. Too bad he is saddled with Mac n’ Company! But as real Republicans all know, big spending liberals/socialist are the in crowd, in Woodbridge, in Trenton and in DC. At least for the time being. Just watch what Chris Christie does in the next four and a half years and beyond. Now, do have a spot of "Tea", it will help sooth your pension plan anxieties.
7 out March 01, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Not into voting for anyone who is in the Knight of Columbus....Especially when Columbus was not even Italian. He was from Catalonia and he could not even write in Italian.
BobDee March 02, 2013 at 01:50 AM
What politician in NJ is NOT a pension padder???
BobDee March 02, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Yea your right, The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) sounds alot better. O_0

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