Sen. Fetterman Endorses Neil Makhija for Montgomery County Commissioners Office

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 06: Neil Makhija speaks during the South Asian Women Get Out the Vote Canvass Event on November 06, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

May 9, 2023

Makhija is running to become the first Asian American ever elected as County Commissioner in Montgomery County and Pennsylvania.

Neil Makhija over the weekend secured a major endorsement from US Sen. John Fetterman in his campaign for one of the two open Montgomery County Commissioners seats.  

Fetterman stated that he and his wife, Gisele Fetterman, have known Makhija for years, calling him one of his “first and strongest supporters in southeastern PA.”

In an email announcing his endorsement, Fetterman said that Makhija’s campaign “is centered around building a healthier and more just Montgomery County. He is committed to expanding access to affordable housing, improving public transportation, and investing in our schools to ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed.”

Montgomery County will have two open County Commissioner seats up for grabs in the primary on May 16. The first vacancy opened up after former commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh was appointed as the Secretary of the Department of Human Services by Gov. Josh Shapiro in January.The second opening comes from Commissioner Ken Lawrence deciding to not seek reelection. 

Makhija is one of five candidates running for the two open seats. He applied for Arkoosh’s open seat in January, but as reported by WHYY, the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas appointed Jamila Winder to serve the remainder of the term. Winder became the first black woman to ever serve on the Board of Commissioners and was endorsed by the Montgomery County Democrats for one of the open seats.        

If nominated and elected this fall, Makhija would become the first Asian American elected as County Commissioner in Montgomery County and in all of Pennsylvania. Makhija is a first generation American born to Indian immigrants and has served as the executive director of IMPACT, the nation’s leading South Asian civic organization.    

Service Employees International Union Local 668 and progressive organizations such as API Pennsylvania, Run for Something, Second Generation and the Working Families Party have also endorsed Makijah’s campaign. He’s also received endorsements from Governor Ed Rendell, former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, State Sens. Katie Muth and Vincent Hughes, and Rep. Gregory Scott.  

The Philadelphia Inquirer, which endorsed Makhija, stated that he “brings a lot to the table.” They cited his work as an election lawyer and his efforts to boost voter turnout in the Asian American community as items the Democrats can draw upon. 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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