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Democratic Bucks County Commissioners Are Running on Their Record of Accomplishments and Bipartisanship

Bob Harvie and Diane Marseglia, lifelong residents of Bucks County, are running for reelection as County Commissioners. We spoke with them about why they are running and why this election is so critical.

During her time as the minority member of the Bucks County Board of Commissioners, Diane Marseglia said she saw the decades-long Republican majority mismanage the county government and take their positions for granted. In her opinion, they were so confident that their reelection was ensured that they felt no desire to make progress in Bucks.

That is why, when Harvie and Marseglia took the majority in 2020, they were motivated to hit the ground running. Marseglia said there was so much work that needed to be done that had been ignored for 20 to 30 years.

Marseglia said she and Commissioner Harvie were able to implement initiatives ranging from mental health resources to enacting the first climate action plan for the county, while balancing the county budget without raising new taxes. Marseglia is proud that they have transitioned Bucks County into the most labor-friendly county in the state, outside of Philadelphia, and have the strongest RCO, or Responsible Contractor Ordinance, in Pennsylvania. 

READ: Many Election Deniers Won Republican Primaries In Pennsylvania. Here’s How To Combat Their Disinformation

“I am running for re-election so that we can build on our progress because there is still so much that needs to be done to better the lives of Bucks County residents and I am genuinely alarmed at the prospect of the MAGA wing of the Republican party taking control of our County government,” said Marseglia.

“If Pam Van Blunk wins this election and the Republicans take the majority, it will put the abortion rights of thousands of Bucks County residents at risk; it will mean a candidate funded by Paul Martino, the MAGA mega donor who is bringing culture war to our school districts, will be at the helm of our County Commission. She will take us backwards,” added Marseglia.

Harvie said that after being elected in 2019, he and Commissioner Marseglia funded key county programs desperately needed while also being economically responsible. 

“After inheriting an $8 million budget deficit, Diane and I balanced the county budget without raising taxes a single dime,” he said. “We have also implemented environmental initiatives such as the county’s first climate action plan and sustainability director. As the majority, we have made much-needed strides to supply mental health services, including our Co-responders program and breaking ground on the mental health crisis center.” 

Harvie said there is plenty of work that still needs to be done. He is running for reelection so they can build upon the progress they’ve made and continue to provide Bucks residents with the resources they need.

“We have led the most bipartisan administration in County history with over 99% of our votes having Republican support, which is a huge accomplishment,” said Marseglia. “We have been able to stand on our values and at the same time, bring people together.We inherited an $8 million budget deficit which we balanced without cutting any services to the county or raising taxes.”

READ: To Understand Groups Like Moms For Liberty And The Republican Party’s MAGA Base, Look To The John Birch Society

Harvie said the team has made progress with investing into our law enforcement. “Republicans want to mislead Bucks County on our record. But if you look into the numbers, violent crime is lower now than it was during the last Republican Majority,” he said. “We have invested in smart on crime prevention programs, which has allowed our law enforcement to focus on stopping crime, not dealing with mental health emergencies.” 

Establishing the Mental Health Court, the co-responders program, and the new mental health facility are examples of investments that allow police officers to focus on their jobs, he said.

In Bucks County, politics is divisive, heated, and sometimes downright ugly (especially by local far-right MAGA activists like Megan Brock and Jamie Cohen Walker). How has this impacted them and their views on local politics, governance, and compromise?

https://twitter.com/SethCotlar/status/1681843271801372672

Harvie acknowledged the temperature in Bucks politics has risen; he thinks that has a lot to do with the noise constantly coming out of Washington. 

“We have led the most bipartisan board of commissioners in Bucks history and still get so much done,” he said. “We have had a 99% bipartisan voting record because we have found common sense solutions to problems that everyone can get behind. There are some who want to cause fights or push things to the extreme, but if you look at our tangible record, we have been able to find ways to work across the aisle.”

READ: New Book Examines How The QAnon Conspiracy Radicalized Its Followers And Unhinged America

Do they foresee local politics becoming more divisive and heated, or cooling down? Marseglia said it comes down to the outcome of this election. She said if she and Harvie maintain the majority, they will stay committed to working across the aisle and continue this historic bipartisan record.

“If Pam Van Blunk and her MAGA supporters win this race, expect the same culture wars they’ve brought to local school districts at the Board of Commissioners,” she said.

Why is Bucks trending Republican with voter registration? Bucks County holds a pivotal role as the most crucial swing county in the nation’s most significant swing state. 

“These developments should and do raise concerns,” replied Harvie. “In the event of a Republican victory this year, we risk ceding authority over our electoral process to a Bucks GOP led by an individual who has openly expressed no remorse for her involvement in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

He said a Republican victory would also undo the progress they’ve made on making voting more accessible, as well as continuing to keep our elections secure. 

READ: Bucks County GOP Chair Pat Poprik Named In ‘Insurrection Index’

“We have expanded access to drop boxes across the county to increase accessibility to voters,” said Harvie. “We have also increased our voter education on mail-in voting as well as new voter registration. We have developed step-by-step visual guidelines, placed ballot boxes with humans and camera security throughout the county, utilized our new website to educate voters, and recently accepted state funds to hire a ballot box and outreach manager to encourage voter registration and participation.” 

As a former Social Studies teacher, Harvie used to teach students about the value of our democracy and the power of the vote. As County commissioner, he said he will always fight to protect that right.

“This election is pivotal, and our campaign needs the help of everyone in this county who wants to keep it on track,” concluded Marseglia. “The MAGA Republicans have deep pockets on their side, and they will look to drown out our message. We can win this election, but only if we the people who want common sense to prevail in Bucks, are united.”

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Erin Flynn Jay

Erin Flynn Jay

Erin Flynn Jay is a freelance reporter based in Philadelphia. Recent national writing includes First for Women, Woman's World Magazine, Bar & Restaurant News, and World Tea News.

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