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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics


Arthur J. Holland  About Arthur J. Holland

Arthur J. Holland was mayor of Trenton from 1959 to 1966 and 1970 to 1989. He graduated from Rutgers’ University College (1954) and the Graduate School − New Brunswick (1959).

Art Holland was the best of the best…His sense of public service was the most pure…His sense of honesty was legend…He was our leader - the mayors of America - and so proud to be.
Joseph Riley
Mayor, Charleston, South Carolina

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Arthur J. Holland was an extraordinary politician and an extraordinary individual. Even more striking than the enduring quality of Mayor Holland’s leadership was its ethical consistency. Honesty and idealism were bred in his bones.
The Trenton Times

The hallmark of Arthur Holland's administration was always having "an open door" to his office. He insisted on doing the public's business in public and no meeting in City Hall was closed to the press or the public.

Mayor Holland's other principle of good government was never to exploit his position for any personal advantage. Gifts, no matter how small or innocently offered, were returned, favors were rejected, lunches refused and contributions from developers declined. He insisted that "good government was good politics."

Holland believed that public service was among the highest callings and that politics was an honorable profession. He strove to make certain all residents of Trenton were included in their government. He was equally dedicated to encouraging young people to enter careers in government service − a message he imparted while teaching in the political science programs of both Rutgers University and Rider University.

Suffering from urban decay, industrial plant closings, and suburban flight like so many New Jersey cities at the time, Trenton needed a shot in the arm and the mayor provided it. He sought funds to revitalize blighted areas and attracted new money to build office buildings and roadways.  He and his family lived in one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods. Above all, he brought to his post impeccable personal integrity.

While on the faculty at Rutgers’ Urban Studies Center − where he helped develop the “New Jersey Future Issues” seminar involving local and state officials, community leaders, citizens, and students − he stressed that it was not enough for government to be honest; it must also be perceived as honest by the public.

In 1988, Holland was elected by his peers as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Throughout his tenure, he traveled the country addressing issues that affected urban America: the destruction of America's cities by drug use and crime, the need to improve housing, public transit and job training. He traveled abroad to encourage mayors of other nations to organize to engage the problems that affected their cities.

Mayor Holland is survived by his wife Betty, a 1958 Eagleton Fellow, and their children: Cynthia, Elise, Christopher, Timothy and Matthew.