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Trouble with A/C and starter

I have 98 TDI Jetta. When I take off the hand brake there is sometimes a faint red light on the dash where it shows if the brake is still on. If that faint light does not go off my A/C will not come on. If I gently touch the key until the light goes completely off then the A/C starts to run. I can do this after I start the car and I have not put it into gear or I can do it as I am driving down he road. Also at times my car will not start when I turn the key at random times. It might start every time one day (three stops and starts). Another day It may take three or more turns on the key before it starts. The car makes no noise at all if it is not going to start. Do I need a new starter or is it something electrical? I love my Jetta and want to keep it as I bought it new in 1998, but I drive two young grandkids around in it and do not want to get stranded with them somewhere.

sounds like a bad ignition switch to me. It’s no longer making contact properly in the on/start positions. This can be replaced separately from the ignition switch key cylinder, so you won’t have to change keys.

+1 with Shadowfax.
How comfortable are you using a multimeter?