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Neil Makhija Wins Democratic Nomination for Commissioner’s Race in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County

Neil Makhija Wins Democratic Nomination for Commissioner’s Race in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County

  • If elected in November, the 36-year-old would be the first Asian American elected to a county board of commissioners in the Keystone State.

Neil Makhija, a civil rights advocate, law professor and former executive director of IMPACT, has won the Democratic nomination for Montgomery County Commissioner. The Indian American competed in the May 16 open primary against four candidates and an incumbent commissioner in the heavily Democratic county.

If elected, Makhija will be “the first-ever AAPI or South Asian American to serve on a county’s board of commissioners in the Commonwealth’s 342-year history,” according to a press release issued by Makhija. As commissioner, “he would oversee a $500 million budget and 3,000 employees including elections, courts, district attorney’s office, public health departments, and public infrastructure,” the press release said. Additionally, he would “oversee the board of elections in Montgomery County, a crucial role ahead of the 2024 presidential and U.S. Senate elections.”

The 36-year-old Penn Valley resident is one of two Democrats advancing to the general election, along with incumbent commissioner Jamila Winder. They defeated Democrats Kimberly Koch, Tanya Bamford and Noah Marlier, and will face Republicans Thomas DiBello and Liz Ferry in the November general election, according to a prerelease issued by Makhija. “The two commissioner vacancies were triggered by the appointment of former Montgomery County Commission chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh’s appointment to the Gov. Josh Shapiro administration, and commissioner Ken Lawrence’s decision not to seek re-election,” the press release said.

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 “At a time when our fundamental rights and democracy itself are on the line, voters of Montgomery County chose a candidate who will fight to protect democratic principles and values,” Makhija noted in the press release. “I am incredibly grateful and humbled by the voters’ faith in our vision for a proactive approach to protecting our voting rights, standing up to Republicans in Harrisburg to keep guns off our streets, and working to ensure that Montgomery County remains a great place to live and raise a family for people of all walks of life.”

The Pennsylvania native graduated from Harvard Law School and teaches election law at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been on leave from IMPACT, a leading national civic organization that turns communities of color out to vote.

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