Residents of the 178th Legislative District, which covers Northampton and surrounding areas, were surprised to hear state Rep. Wendi Thomas’ recent announcement that she’s not running for reelection this year. After serving for two terms, she and her husband want to focus on retirement and enjoy warmer weather.
This provides an opportunity for a new Republican to toss their hat in the ring and Kristin Marcell, who currently holds a spot on the Council Rock school board, is doing just that.
Marcell, a Wrightstown resident, wife and mother, joined the board of school directors in 2019 and was reelected in 2021. Though she enjoys serving the students in this capacity, working in Harrisburg would allow her to do so on a grander scale.
“When friends, neighbors and local leaders approached me about running, I felt like I needed to consider it,” she told The Times. “With my background on the Council Rock school board and seeing firsthand how decisions in Harrisburg have greatly affected our students, families and small businesses during the pandemic, I thought that our community deserves to have a strong voice fighting for them in the capital.”
Most of Marcell’s time on the school board hasn’t been easy as this volunteer group was forced to make decisions regarding building reopenings, masking and other health and safety protocols throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Marcell names these decisions as some of her favorite moments, especially when certain votes resulted in getting kids back in the classroom.
“After serving on the Council Rock school board for almost four years, I am proudest of working together with my board colleagues to navigate through these difficult times to safely reopen our schools and keep them open,” she said.
Many board meetings continue to stretch past midnight as the group debates what’s best for the students. Marcell thinks this experience of collaborating with individuals of varying opinions would greatly benefit her in state government.
“The legislature is made up of 203 members. You don’t get anything done just by yourself,” she said. “You need to bring people together and build a consensus to move forward and take action. On the school board, you do that.”
Her time spent working and living in Bucks County has allowed Marcell to get to know local residents and what’s most important to them, something she thinks would give her a leg up if she were to fill Thomas’ seat.
“I am a native to Bucks County. I live in Wrightstown now with my family, but have lived all over our local area and really understand the concerns of our community in a way that I think is vital when it comes to representing them in Harrisburg,” she said.
If elected, Marcell outlined several goals that she hopes to accomplish.
“I’m passionate about ensuring people have a voice in government. Unfortunately, that’s something that has seemed to be lost since the start of the pandemic and it is something we can never lose in a democracy,” she said. “Beyond that, there are many issues important to our community – public safety, improving education, getting our economy moving again and local issues, too – that I want to focus upon.”
Additionally, if elected, Marcell hopes to decrease partisan politics for the sake of her constituents.
“Instead of politics as usual, I believe we need to bring people together to find common ground, establish relationships based on trust and respect and get things done,” she said. “Regardless of our policy differences, we can work together to tackle difficult problems and take action to move forward for our communities, and without the vitriol and personal attacks.”
When asked to share a few final words on why residents living in the 178th District should vote for her when the time comes, Marcell provided a preview as to what her tenure in office would look like.
“I’m a mom that works hard and focuses on getting results,” she said. “I think now more than ever, that’s what people want out of government – some old-fashioned common sense, hard work and results that make a difference. That’s what I try to deliver every day.”
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com