By Allison Scharmann
Liz Lempert, mayor of Princeton, N.J., is the kind of politician who chooses her words carefully. She’s coming to the end of her first term and four years filled with controversial battles including gentrification, wage theft, infrastructure, and other issues that reflect the town’s changing demographics.
A former journalist, Lempert jumped into politics with Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and served as Princeton Township Deputy Mayor for four years. Since being elected mayor in 2012, she’s governed a town that’s experienced growing tension amid urban development and gentrification, especially in neighborhoods consisting largely of people of color. Continue reading
By Jamal Burns
St. Louis, MO
Liz Lempert sits in a beige conference room in Princeton’s municipal complex. The room is utterly silent, besides the faint hum of central air conditioning. But the calmness of the room belies persistent tension in the Princeton community, whether about the environment, the cost of housing, or racial prejudices on Princeton University’s campus.
Lempert, 46, is the first mayor of the newly consolidated Princeton Township. But she hasn’t always been in politics. She started her unconventional journey in journalism, as an editor for the Stanford Daily, and later, as a graduate student at Boston University. “I thought I was going to go into print [journalism] because you gravitate to what comes easy to you, and I always loved writing,” she said. Continue reading