“I have loved every minute of serving the people of Hopewell Township,” Kristin McLaughlin said.
As a new member of the Mercer County Board of County Commissioners, McLaughlin not only serves Hopewell Township residents in a different capacity, but residents who make up the entirety of Mercer County.
“People can still reach out to me with questions and concerns and I will do what I have always done, which is get them to the right people to get their questions answered if I am not that person,” she said. “The difference being now that there are a whole lot more municipal residents that can reach out to me and ask for help.”
Sworn in on Jan. 6, McLaughlin is more than two weeks into her first three-year term as a county commissioner and comes into her new position having served Hopewell Township as a Township Committee member from 2017-21, and mayor in 2019 and 2020).
When McLaughlin was processing the transition and preparing for her swearing-in there are some Hopewell Township projects that remained very close to her heart and hard to turn over to the next incredibly capable set of people, she said.
“We worked really hard to repopulate the Bristol-Myers Squibb facility. The process is part of the way through, but not all of the way through. That is something really important to the people of Hopewell Township and frankly, now the people of Mercer County,” McLaughlin said. “Although it is in Hopewell Township it does affect the county tax base. I am hoping that I do not have to completely disengage, but some of that I will.”
Another project is the planning and development of a new Hopewell Valley Senior and Community Center.
“The county does have dollars in play. We have two grants from Mercer County. I am really hopeful that folks here will let me stay engaged on that,” McLaughlin said. “This is something I really care about and know will be useful to not only the people of Hopewell Township and Hopewell Valley, but attract other people, too.”
Affordable housing and the plan to dredge Hiohela pond are some additional items that are not quite finished that she is proud to have been a part of. She added she also wants to highlight Hopewell Township’s resiliency during the coronavirus pandemic, especially the first year in 2020.
“The job is never finished, but I feel good about the part I got to play for what we did over the last five years,” she said. “I am confident that the team that is in place will very capably manage whatever else is left and the challenges that will come.”
McLaughlin said she seriously started thinking about a run to serve on the County Commissioners following a transition to her role as a member of the Township Committee after her time as mayor in 2020.
“I realized that I had a lot of ideas and energy to serve a broader group of people. So much of what goes on in Hopewell Township is affected by what goes on in the rest of the county,” she said. “I was ready to look at government and service to people from a different perspective. The county just has so many resources and the ability to really impact so many more people’s daily lives.”
McLaughlin said she is thrilled to be able to join the Board of County Commissioners.
“They know their stuff, they are hard working, they are dedicated and I think it will be a lot of fun and is an honor to join them,” she said.
McLaughlin becoming commissioner left her seat vacant on the Township Committee. Members of the Township Committee unanimously voted to appointed David Chait to fill her unexpired term ending in late December 2022 on Jan. 10.