Jim Thorpe man launches bid for state representative seat


Jim Thorpe attorney Neil Makhija has announced his candidacy for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving the 122nd district.

A number of community leaders encouraged Neil to follow his dream of serving Pennsylvania families. He made the decision to seek public service after attending the Lehighton vs. Jim Thorpe football game earlier this month.

“I love this community,” he said. “I was born and raised in Lehighton, right here in Carbon County. In Harrisburg, I’ll fight to revitalize our region and build a new economy where working families prosper. Our political system is rigged — and we need a new generation of leadership in Pennsylvania to fix it,” Makhija said.

“Carbon County needs a strong voice in Harrisburg. Our schools and human services have been held hostage to these political games for months while legislators have been getting their own paychecks. We need problem solvers and common sense people like Neil. Neil didn’t forget where he came from,” said Billy O’Gurek Jr., chairman of the Carbon County Democratic Party and chair of the Northeast Caucus of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

An attorney in Carbon County, Makhija was recently sworn in to the Pennsylvania Bar Association by Justice Correale F. Stevens of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

He is also a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was the recipient of the Horace DeYoung Lentz Scholarship.

“I feel truly indebted to my community for this tremendous gift,” Makhija said. “Carbon County has given me so many opportunities, and I want to make sure that members of my hometown have the same opportunities to succeed whether it’s through improving our schools, building a stronger local economy for the middle class, or cutting down on bureaucracy and taxes to help working people thrive.”

Makhija has worked in the offices of Vice President Joseph Biden and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, where he oversaw intake for casework protecting the rights of veterans and seniors.

He now serves on the advisory boards of the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development’s Young Professionals Council and Family Promise of Carbon County.

Neil earned his B.A. at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and graduated from MMI Preparatory School in Freeland.

He is the son of Dr. Kailash and Lata Makhija of Lehighton, who have been providing health care services to the women of Carbon County for nearly 35 years.

Article published in the Times News.