Last week, civil rights advocate and professor of election law at the University of Pennsylvania Neil Makhija won a majority seat on Montgomery County’s Board of Commissioners. Fighting for the Democratic candidacy, he defeated four other candidates in the primary, as well as the incumbent Commissioner in his election bid. 

As Commissioner, Makhija will now oversee a $1 billion budget and 3,000 employees across election officials, courts, the district attorney’s office, public health departments, and public infrastructure. His role is especially crucial in light of the upcoming 2024 presidential and US Senate elections. 

Makhija is a native of Penn Valley and a graduate of Harvard Law School. He is the first Asian American to hold this position in the state, and at 37, the youngest in modern history. During his campaign, he received endorsements from multiple Pennsylvania politicians, media outlets and community organizations, and raised a record $1.5 million for his campaign through a largely grassroots campaign.