Civil Rights Advocate from Penn Valley Could Make Montgomery County Political History

Image via the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Valley civil rights advocate and law professor Neil Makhija might be on the path to making Montgomery County history. Keya Vakil explained in The Keystone.

As Valerie Arkoosh moved on to her next venture as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, her spot on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners has opened.

Makhija — a first-generation Indian American raised in Carbon County — is considering applying for the leadership role.

Should he get elected, he would be the first South Asian member of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

A Harvard Law alum and now a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Makhija has been a longtime advocate for underrepresented communities. He’s the executive director of IMPACT, a South Asian civic organization. He focuses on consumer protection and worker’s rights and has fought against opioid manufacturers.

He’s an avid supporter of voter’s rights and has publicly testified against gerrymandering.

“It has been my life’s mission to help elect qualified people whose work often goes unnoticed and unrepresented in government,” Makhija said.

“It would be an honor to serve — in particular, on the 100th Anniversary of the United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind and Ozawa v. United States, [two] U.S. Supreme Court cases that stripped Asian Americans of citizenship rights.”

Twelve other locals thus far have applied for the position.

More on the possibility of Neil Makhija on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners is at The Keystone.


Unfamiliar with Neil Makhija? Here’s a 2022 interview reflecting his current role at IMPACT, a South Asian civic organization.

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