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First Indian American Director of Calif. State Lottery Commission Announces $1.765 Billion Powerball Jackpot Winner

First Indian American Director of Calif. State Lottery Commission Announces $1.765 Billion Powerball Jackpot Winner

  • Harjinder Shergill-Chima, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last December, served as the second in command for four years.

As director of the California State Lottery Commission, Harjinder Shergill-Chima manages the day-to-day operations of the lottery. The commission operates eight different games — MEGA Millions, SuperLotto Plus, Scratchers, Fantasy 5, Daily 4, Daily 3, Hot Spot and Daily Derby.

Earlier this week, Shergill-Chima announced Theodorus Struyck as the winner of the $1.765 billion Powerball Jackpot. Struyck represents the winners who bought that ticket at Midway Market in Frazier Park ahead of the historic draw back in October of last year.

“Announcing big wins like this gives all of our players the chance to hope and dream that they could be next,” she said in a press release. “But it also gives us an opportunity to shine the spotlight on our terrific mission, which is to generate additional, supplemental funding for public education in California,” she said. “So, it’s students of all ages across the state, who win every day thanks to our players, our retail partners who sell these fun games, and our hard-working staff here at the Lottery.”

Shergill-Chima  became the first Indian American to lead the agency after Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed her last December, “barely a week after the previous director bowed out.” The Sacramento Bee reported at the time that she inherited a department that was “still trying to shake its recent reputation for poor workplace morale and employee misconduct.”

In an email to the Lottery staff after her appointment, Shergill-Chima said she looked forward “to building on the strong foundation we’ve built together tackling our unique challenges and opportunities,” according to The Sacramento Bee. She further committed to “putting our people first” and “building on our collective communication and collaboration.”

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An attorney by trade, she previously served as the department’s second in command for four years. Before joining the Lottery, she spent 18 years as a litigator both in private practice and with other state departments such as Caltrans and the Government Operations Agency.

Before Lottery Commission, she was assistant general counsel at the California Government Operations Agency from 2018 to 2019. Before that, she was an Attorney at the California Department of Transportation from 2004 to 2018. She was an Associate at Rich, Fuidge, Morris & Iverson Inc. from 2002 to 2004 and at Reinecke & Daily in 2001. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento, and a Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School.

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