Meet the Newly Elected South Asian American Lawmakers

Affordable housing, environmental protection, and racial equity top many of the to-do lists of the newly elected legislators, such as Shahana Hanif from New York City and Aftab Pureval from Ohio.

South Asian legislators
South Asian legislators (The Juggernaut)

Meghna Maharishi


November 12, 2021


10 min

Election Day marked a historic cycle for South Asian Americans, who are poised to take office in state legislatures and city halls across the country.

Many of these wins “were long overdue,” said Neil Makhija, the executive director of IMPACT, an advocacy group that helps Indian Americans get elected to political office.

“To think that we finally now have the first Indian American elected mayor [of] Edison, [New Jersey], the first Desi New York City Council member from Jackson Heights,” Makhija said. “It’s extraordinary that it's happening now. And it's all happening at once.”

Winners from this year’s election cycle, who were mostly Democrats, were deeply involved in their communities, with many sitting on town boards or participating in local advocacy organizations ahead of their bids for office.

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