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Talk of the Town: Freeholder Leah Arter

Moorestonian and new freeholder Leah Arter chats about how she reacted to the Penn State scandal, who she likes (and doesn't like) in the GOP primary, and her favorite spot(s) in Moorestown.

Bio: Moorestown resident Leah Arter was sworn in as freeholder last week. Arter graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a minor in Political Science. She also earned a Master of Arts in American History from Rutgers University. She is the president of Imprintz Custom Printed Graphics in Beverly and the mother of two young boys, Seth and Ethan. 

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Moorestown Patch: There were a lot of Penn State alums who had strong feelings about the scandal. What did you make of it? How did it affect you?
Leah Arter: It’s saddening to watch your school, your alma mater, go through turmoil … I don’t like influencing other people’s opinions. It’s just a sad unfolding to watch. I guess the one thing I can say about what I think of it is I think the university has a long road in front of it to recover, and how do you recover? What steps do you take? It’s a very sad process to watch, because I had four great years there. And it shapes who you are as a young adult. I felt for the students who are students there now. I feel for those students that their years in college shouldn’t be seen on CNN and SportsCenter … I’m sorry that they’re not gonna have an unmarred college experience.

Patch: Have you decided which GOP presidential candidate you’re voting for?
Arter: Actually, I’m undecided. Truthfully. I’m one of the people who's happy Chris Christie’s staying in New Jersey, but he would be my favorite. So because of that I have not … I heard Mitt Romney introduce Chris Christie once when Chris Christie was running for governor, and I have to say Mitt Romney comes across much better in person than on television … I’ve been watching and listening, and I’m curious to see how it turns out.

Patch: Anyone who you’ve ruled out?
Arter: Rick Perry. And Michele Bachmann.

Patch: You studied American history as an undergrad and in grad school. Is there a historical figure who you most admire?
Arter: Abraham Lincoln. Because you could see what was playing out in society played out in his policies. He showed progression in his thinking. You just wonder what the result of that time in history would be if it was another individual in office. And you think about who he was running against for president—if any of them had won, what would have happened. Who he was was such a factor on how American history unfolded. That was a very critical juncture in our history. So I find him fascinating.

Patch: Do you think the way our current political system is set up we’ll ever have another Lincoln or an FDR again?
Arter: I don’t like to say “never.” I think it’s a very rare combination. It’s a combination of the individual characteristics and the historical juncture that they entered the stage. I just think it won’t look the same, so to speak. The lens we look at politicians through is so much closer to the individual. There’s so much more information readily available, for better or worse. But also the ability to critique and have that critique out there in a public forum is very, very different … It may not hold the same aura of personality. But could they have the same effect? Yeah.

Patch: What was the last really good movie you saw?
Arter: The Help. That was an excellent, excellent movie. I haven’t read the book; I’ve been meaning to read the book … I was crying. It was very uplifting. It was the triumph of human spirit over racial prejudice.

Patch: Do you have a favorite spot in Moorestown, somewhere where you feel most at home other than your home (in Moorestown Mews)?
Arter: I attend , and it’s a very, very peaceful place. So I enjoy the peace in church. I also enjoy my walk, my loop. I really enjoy my four-mile loop. So that’s not really one spot. I’ll walk out Main Street and down Stanwick and back around. So you’re on Main Street, then you’re in houses, then you’re back up. It’s a really nice feel.

Look for a profile of Freeholder Leah Arter early next week on Moorestown Patch. 

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