Makhija sworn in as Montgomery County Commissioner in PA, first Indian/Asian American in state to hold post

Neil Makhija being sworn-in as Montgomery County Commissioner in Pennsylvania Jan. 4, 2024. PHOTO: Courtesy Neil Makhija’s office

Indian-American Neil Makhija, was sworn-in on January 3, 2024, as Montgomery County Commissioner in Pennsylvania, making him the first Asian to hold that post ever in the state as a whole.

Calling it a “truly special” event, Makhija said the ceremony was attended by many local leaders and supporters, from U.S. Senator John Fetterman to U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean and Mary Gay Scanlon, and members from tbe state delegation and judiciary. The swearing-in took place at the Montgomery County Community College’s HSC Main Gym, in the Health Sciences center.

Neil Makhija speaking at the swearing-in ceremony Jan. 3, 2024, as Montgomery County Commissioner, PA. PHOTO: X @NeilMakhija

Makhija was sworn in by his friend, Judge Arun Subramanian, he noted, alongside his new colleagues and his family.

Montgomery County is Pennsylvania’s 3ed-largest county with a population of 865,000 residents. As Makhija says on Likedin, ?Commissioners oversee county government, a $1b budget and 3,500 employees covering human services, election administration, infrastructure, civil and criminal justice systems, human services, and much more.”

“We ran a positive campaign, and I’m proud that the message we conveyed to voters is one of a brighter future for Montgomery County,” he said, a strategy that has brought significant news coverage.

The Philadelphia Inquirer noted how before 2024, there was no Asian American county commissioner in all of Pennsylvania ever in the history of the state. The swearing-in of Makhija changed that.. Also breaking the mold was the election of the first black female Jamila Winder, and a Republican Tom Di Bello, the paper noted.

“The commissioners represent the county’s largest leadership sheke-up in more than a decade, as Winder begins her first full term and Makhija and DiBello take office for the first time. The new majority members, who bring youth and diversity to the board, have already shown an interest in leading differently,” the Inquirer said.

Hundreds attended the County Commissioners’ swearing ceremony in Pennsylvania Jan. 3, 2024. Photo shows Neil Makhija speaking at the swearing-in. PHOTO: X @NeilMakhija

In his email broadcast of Jan. 4, however, Makhija said, “I didn’t run for office to “make history.” I ran to make a difference.”

As a new parent of a son, Makhija said, “I think about my son when I think about my inspiration for public service. It’s about building a brighter future — and expanding opportunity for the next generation.”

As County Commissioner, he said, “I am ready to fight to protect our fragile democracy and ensure that we protect every single vote in 2024. I am ready to make our county a leader in tackling climate change. I’m ready to make sure that our public education is world class — free of gun violence, hatred and bigotry.”

Makhija is a public interest lawyer educator, and community organizers, according to his profile on He has served as the President of Indian American Impact, a leading political organization focused on Indian and South Asian candidates for public office. He earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School on the Horace Lentz Scholarship. While at Harvard, he founded the HLS Homelessness Coalition and was a Senior Policy Editor on the Harvard Law & Policy Review. He received his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied neuroscience and served as co-president of his class and commencement speaker.



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