Week 2: On the Doorstep

IMG_8072So the question is: why would anyone ever move across the state for an unpaid internship working on a state campaign? The answer to that is surprisingly simple. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the truth is that PA politics are a mess right now. We went almost a whole year without passing a state budget, heroin is becoming a huge problem, property taxes have been in need of a readjustment for years, and there is a general laziness in Harrisburg characterized by high salaries and pensions alongside low rates of action. The list goes on.

So add up all of this nonsense in addition to a representative who has been in office since 2010, a man who promised to only run two terms. Sure, he shows up to all the community events and gets his picture in the paper, but is he really helping the area or even Pennsylvania for that matter? That remains to be seen. Despite the relative inaction, the incumbent is certainly well known. It seems that those who support and oppose him have strong feelings about the issue, and are relatively involved in the district’s political scene.

I spoke to a man recently who was literally brought to tears while talking about the defunding of a local park project that occurred under the current representative. Although it is not realistic to expect a representative to be able to do everything, it definitely feels like Carbon County is in need of a fresh face.

This is where Neil Makhija comes in, along with the job that I moved across the state for. Neil’s family immigrated to the area from India before Neil was born and Neil’s father, Dr. Makhija, is one of the most well-known people in the area. Almost all women in the area know him or have heard of him because of the 8,000+ babies he has delivered over the years. Neil himself just graduated from Harvard Law School, where he attended on a scholarship set up by a coal family in the county, and became an attorney in a local town. Now he is full of energy and ready to fight for the people of this county to really make a difference with the issues that count.

So is Neil Makhija going to win? Although politics can be complicated and quite fickle, it definitely seems like Neil has a chance. With all of these different factors in play, not only is this the most competitive race in the PA, but Neil is the ranked as the top candidate across the state. With all of that being said, I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t have moved to Eastern PA to be a part of this.


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