Jane Kobuta and her husband, Metro, moved to Somerville in 1969 where their sons Demetrius and Benjamin were born in 1970 and 1972. As the boys grew and started to participate in local youth activities, Jane became active in Cub Scouts, Pop Warner, and Somerville Wrestling. These volunteer experiences would pave the way for Jane’s future community involvement.
Jane joined the staff at the Somerville YMCA in 1977 as a part-time bookkeeper. Over the next twenty-three years she filled many roles there before retiring in 2000 as the Executive Director. She was instrumental in helping the Y to expand its role as a key contributor to the physical and mental health of not only Somerville but the surrounding area. Upon retirement Jane founded her own small bookkeeping business that serves local clients.
Jane was first elected to the Somerville Borough Council in November 2004 and has been reelected five more times since then. She has just completed her seventeenth consecutive year in public office, making her the longest serving councilwoman in Somerville’s history. During her years in office, Jane has worked successfully with three Mayors and thirteen councilpersons. She was elected Council President by her peers on four different occasions, and became the first woman to seek election as Mayor of Somerville in 2015.
Jane has served in many capacities on Council. She has been Personnel Chairperson, and liaison to the Somerville Public Library, Recreation Commission, Ville TV, the Somerville Planning Board, and various Redevelopment Committees.
Her work with the Downtown Somerville Alliance, on which she served as its first president in 2018, has been key in the success of Somerville’s Special Improvement District as it adapts to changing economic and social conditions. Jane has also contributed her time and talent to the Somerset County Regional Center Partnership that promotes cooperation between Somerville, Bridgewater, and Raritan on long-term planning projects. Busy as these professional commitments keep her, Jane continues to be a full-time loving grandmother to Jacob, Ryan, and Demetrius.
With her recent decision to move to Utah in early 2022, Jane’s fifty-three years in Somerville will come to a bittersweet end, but she leaves behind a legacy of service to our community that will be difficult to match. It is with grateful appreciation that I name Jane C. Kobuta the 2021 Somerville Citizen of the Year for her outstanding volunteerism and dedication to the residents of Somerville, and I join the members of the Somerville Borough Council in wishing her a happy, safe, and productive retirement in her new home. Godspeed!