Government Neighbors

New Hope Remembers Council Vice President, Businesswoman Laurie McHugh

The New Hope Borough councilwoman is being remembered for her service.

Council Vice President Laurie McHugh.
Credit: New Hope Borough

The community continues to remember New Hope Borough Council Vice President Laurie McHugh.

McHugh, 58, died following a crash last Monday between her Audi and a large tractor-trailer along Durham Rd (Route 413) near Upper Mountain Road in nearby Buckingham Township.

McHugh was born in Philadelphia and raised in Upper Southampton Township. She had an adopted daughter, Aya, and several siblings.

As the New Hope community mourns the loss of McHugh, she is being remembered for her incredible contributions to the borough and for her leadership as a local politician and successful businesswoman. 

“I’m very fortunate and grateful to have had the chance to be part of her life as long as I did. She’s leaving a hole in my heart and in many others but I’m sure we’ll meet again one day,” said Michael Sklar, president of the New Hope Greater Chamber of Commerce and a business operator in the area. “We need more Lauries in this world. There aren’t many people who will spend their free time trying to figure out how to actively better their neighborhoods.” 

McHugh moved to the borough after a long career in international real estate investment. During her time in the borough, McHugh’s business career continued to thrive as a female business owner.

She was the co-founder of the Bucks County Dragon Boat Association. Under McHugh’s leadership, the Bucks County Dragon Boat Association introduced the water-sport to a new audience in the borough and hosted the first-ever Bucks County Dragon Boat Festival on Lake Luxembourg at Core Creek Park in 2015, per the association’s official website. Some of the Bucks County Dragon Boat Association’s members were selected to the U.S. National Dragon Boat team in 2017 and 2019.

McHugh also co-founded Union Chill Cannabis, the City of Lambertville’s first craft cannabis dispensary.

Like the majority of her business ventures, McHugh’s vision for the women-owned business was built on the values of community, integrity, social responsibility and economic success, those who knew her said.

As a politician, McHugh was elected to the New Hope Borough Council as vice president in 2016. She proudly served her community for eight years.

When McHugh stepped into office, she “quickly earned a reputation as a thoughtful, fair and professional representative of New Hope’s diverse residents and businesses,” said Borough Manager Peter Gray.

Along with being council vice president, McHugh was council liaison to the Shade Tree Commission and the Greater New Hope Chamber of Commerce. She also helped create New Hope’s first Junior Council. 

A champion and fighter for small businesses, McHugh helped New Hope Borough’s restaurants and boutiques survive during the COVID-19 pandemic by coming up with innovative ways of operating, such as contactless business. 

Pennsylvania State Rep. Tim Brennan released a statement announcing his condolences.

“Like so many, we too are shocked and saddened to hear of Laurie McHugh’s sudden passing. Laurie was New Hope Borough Council Vice President, a local business owner and an avid Dragon Boat racer. Our condolences to her family, friends and to the whole New Hope Community,” he said.

Aside from her political and business careers, McHugh was willing to lend a helping hand to her community in any way she could. She helped out at several borough events like the New Hope Arts and Crafts Festival, the Run Now Wine Later 5k event and helped bring First Fridays back to the borough, according to Sklar. 

New Hope Greater Chamber of Commerce President Sklar is the chief of research and development at Union Chill Cannabis, McHugh’s dispensary business. McHugh was a motivating factor in Sklar’s decision to work for the dispensary.

“As for working with Laurie, the only reason why I decided to be involved with Union Chill Cannabis is because of her. I always told her that if it wasn’t for her being the leader of the team, I wouldn’t have gotten involved and I was grateful to be doing this project with her,” Sklar said. “She inspired everyone around her and created a family dynamic almost immediately, she was the true definition of a leader.”

A Memorial Celebration for Laurie will be held at a later date, according to her obituary.

To send condolences to the McHugh family, please visit McGhee-Givnish Funeral Home

To make a donation in McHugh’s name:  

About the author

David Hunt

David J. Hunt is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. A proud alumnus of Temple University, he started out at his college's newspaper and never looked back. When he isn't writing, he enjoys reading, traveling and working out. You can find more of his work in Yardbarker, FanSided and the Chestnut Hill Local. You can follow him on Twitter at @dave_hunt44.

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