History-making lawmaker Kumar P. Barve, shifts gears to join Maryland Public Service Commission

Kumar Barve of Maryland Public Service Commission. PHOTO: psc.state.md.us

In a momentous change, Kumar P. Barve, the first Indian American to be elected to a state legislature in the history of this country, stepped into a different role May 31, 2023.

After an illustrious 30-year career in the Maryland legislature, Barve becomes the newest member of the Maryland Public Service Commissioner, appointed to that post by Governor Wes Moore. He replaces Commissioner Patty Bubar who stepped down from the PSC bench as of May 31. Barve takes his seat a week after his swearing-in, a press release from the PSC said.

During his tenure in the Maryland House of Delegates since 1991, Barve held holding leadership roles including Chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, and Chair of the Montgomery County House delegation.

While in the General Assembly he worked on issues covering environmental regulation, energy generation and conservation, and greenhouse gas reduction.

As a legislator, Barve was the recipient of several awards, including the Casper R. Taylor, Jr. Award in 2023; Certificate of Appreciation from the Maryland Municipal League in 2007, 2010 and 2011; Maryland Super Star from the Maryland Municipal League in 2008; and Legislator of the Year from the Montgomery County Medical Society in 1995, 1996 and 2000.

Barve charted his own distinguished career path, but has ties through family history, to India’s independence movement. “The Indian freedom movement only tangentially affected my future in politics. My experience in politics was rooted in my own participation and activism since high school,” Barve told News India Times in a 2019 interview. Elected to the Maryland State Legislature when he was just 32, Barve was a political activist early on in life.

Barve spoke of his father, Prabhakar Barve, who came to the U.S. in 1958, and of him boycotting British goods while growing up in India.

Barve’s mother was born in Schenectady, N.Y., and she told him about his maternal grandfather, Shankar Lakshman Gokhale, who moved to the US in 1911, and was a research engineer with General Electric in Schenectady.

The Schenectady County Historical Society newsletter (vol. 26, Number 9-10) of September-October 2013, did an article featuring Barve’s maternal grandfather who lived in Schenectady for more than 50 years, and who had been the President at Holkar College In Bombay during British rule, where he was dismissed by the British for allegedly “seditious activity,” and left for America in 1911.

A graduate of Paint Branch High School in Silver Spring, Kumar Barve earned a B.S. in Accounting from Georgetown University and is a resident of Rockville, Maryland.

The Maryland Public Service Commission regulates electric and gas utilities and suppliers, telephone companies (land lines), certain water and sewer companies, passenger motor vehicle carriers for hire (sedans, limousines, buses, Uber, Lyft), taxicab companies (in Baltimore City and County, Charles County, Cumberland and Hagerstown) and bay pilot rates.



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