Indian American Raj Mukherji Appointed House Majority Whip in New Jersey
Raj Mukherji is the first Indian American and Asian American person to be appointed to this position.
Raj Mukherji, the only Indian American lawmaker in the New Jersey General Assembly, was appointed as the House Majority Whip, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin announced on Jan. 12. Mukherji is the first Indian American and Asian American to be appointed in this position.
A Whip is meant to be a disciplinarian for the political party. The individual is meant to make sure that all party members vote in the legislature according to party policy.
The 33-year-old Democrat represents the 33rd Legislative District. He is a healthcare lawyer, businessman, former Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, and adjunct professor of political science at New Jersey City University. He was educated at Thomas Edison State University, University of Pennsylvania, Seton Hall University School of Law.
He became the deputy mayor at the age of 27 after supporting himself through school and university as an emancipated minor since his parents had to return to India. At 28, he won the Democratic primary election for Assembly in NJ’s 33rd Legislative District by a 36-point margin and in 2013 won the November general election by a 20-point margin.
Mukherji told News India Times he was humbled by the Speaker’s trust and confidence in him. With the swearing-in this week of Vin Gopal as our state’s first South Asian senator, New Jersey joins Maryland as one of the only two states with multiple South Asian American lawmakers and one of only two states with South Asian Americans in legislative leadership,” he said.
Mukherji is a third term legislator who represents the Democratic Party. He was also in the United States Marines, where he was a sergeant. The young Democrat calls himself a “champion of the middle class and working families.”
According to NJ.com, he pleaded guilty in federal court in 2009 to a 2004 misdemeanor charge of possession of a fraudulent identification document. He dubbed it as a “youthful indiscretion.”
In the Assembly, he sits on the Budget Committee, which is responsible for crafting the Legislature’s annual appropriations bill – the entire state budget. He is also a member of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee and the Labor Committee.
Apart from Mukherji, Vin Gopal is the only other Indian in the New Jersey government. Gopal is in the Senate and a Democratic Party leader as well. He was elected last November.
Many Indian American legislators won during the elections in November 2017. In New Jersey, Indian American Sikh Ravi Bhalla became the mayor of Hoboken.