Burlington County Freeholder Race Gets Testy

The lone Democrat in Burlington County government is fighting to hold onto her seat.  If you watched any of the GOP attack ads on TV, Mary Anne Reinhart appears as a "selfish" angry woman who cares only about her salary and health benefits.  The ads include a video clip in which she says "I'm entitled to be paid for this position."    

When the majority of the 5-member board voted in 2010 to halve their $21,000 salaries and eliminate benefits, she voted against the plan and lost.  Republicans mocked her.  But Reinhart said that she had campaigned in 2009 on a promise she would work full-time as a freeholder and be a watchdog of government.  Then, after she got elected, she said she felt she deserved a salary for all her time and effort.  She says she spends many hours each day reviewing contracts, bills and official records to make sure everything is in order.  She also said she meets frequently with her constituents.   

Reinhart, 64, a real estate broker from Shamong, says she still would like another 3-year term on the board even though she is not being paid.   There are two seats up for grabs and her running mate is newcomer Machell Still-Pettis, of Westampton.   

Their opponents are Leah Arter, a former Beverly City Council president who now lives in Moorestown, and Joe Howarth, deputy mayor of Evesham.  They say they want to cut waste and help the jobless.    

Watch a video clip of the interviews conducted with 3 of the candidates here:  http://www.philly.com/freeholder  Each was asked why they wanted a seat on the board. 

Though Reinhart was also interviewed, she had bronchitis that day and declined to be recorded on tape.