Neil Makhija to run for Commissioner in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Neil Makhija. PHOTO:

Neil Makhija, executive director of the advocacy organization Indian American IMPACT, who is currently on leave, has announced he is running on a Democratic ticket for Montgomery County Commissioner in Pennsylvania.

Underscoring the necessity to have “competent and qualified people fill this seat,” Makhija noted, “As I said in my previous messages, the Montgomery County Commissioners oversee the local Board of Elections. This is the first line of defense in one of Pennsylvania’s most important Democratic counties to stop Trump or DeSantis from stealing our elections.”

Announcing his decision to run, Makhija in his campaign email on March 20, 2023, said, “I will be competing in the primary in just 57 days — and the stakes are incredibly high. The next Commissioner will oversee elections in Pennsylvania’s third largest county of over 850,000 people. In 2024, we fully expect the GOP to relentlessly attack our voting rights as they did in 2020.”

Vowing to safeguard “the fundamental right to vote” in Pennsylvania, Makhija, a civil rights advocate and professor of election law, said as the Executive Director of Impact, he “nearly doubled Asian American turnout and inspired new voters to defeat Trump, flip state houses, and win the US Senate.”

“This critical open seat was previously held by Governor Josh Shapiro. With a $500M+ budget and 3,000 employees, Commissioners are tasked with protecting public health, investing in infrastructure, funding the civil and criminal justice systems, and overseeing elections,” Makhija’s email added. “Our advocacy made possible federal legislation that now delivers billions in funds to local governments for modern infrastructure addressing climate change, housing, and transportation. This can be transformative.”

“In 2021, Neil was among 13 civil rights leaders invited by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the White House to advise on civil & voting rights,” stated his campaign website, adding Makhija was “named by City & State PA as one of the ‘40 under 40’ most influential people in Pennsylvania politics alongside some of the state’s highest-ranking government leaders.”

In 2022, Makhija “provided public testimony on fair redrawing of Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered state house maps, which led to flipping the chamber for the first time in over a decade,” added the website.

Before joining IMPACT, Makhija worked at the White House, the U.S. Senate, and earned his Juris Doctor at Harvard Law School on the Horace Lentz Scholarship, that was endowed by a 19th century Pennsylvanian. During his time at Harvard, Makhija founded the HLS Homelessness Coalition, and served as a Senior Policy Editor on the Harvard Law & Policy Review. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College.

Makhija along with his physician wife, Dr. Rachel Nash, reside in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, and are expecting their first child in June.



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