BLUE BELL, PA—On January 3, Montgomery County hosted a public swearing-in ceremony for Commissioners Jamila H. Winder, Neil Makhija, and Thomas DiBello, as well as nine Row Officers, in the Montgomery County Community College’s Health Science Center Main Gym.
"Montgomery County has a population that is diverse in experiences and backgrounds," said Jamila H. Winder, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Our community deserves to have leadership that reflects those lived experiences. This new Board of Commissioners, with our dedication to service and diverse perspectives, ensures that everyone who lives, works, visits, or invests in Montgomery County has a voice that speaks for them.”
“It’s an honor to serve alongside Commissioners Winder and DiBello to support the people of Montgomery County. And that is what we are here to do—to serve,” said Neil Makhija, Montgomery County Commissioner. “I am looking forward to the critical work of protecting our elections in 2024, addressing housing affordability and homelessness, leading on the climate crisis, and many more issues we face as a County.
“I believe we’re going to do a lot of good for the residents of Montgomery County," said Thomas DiBello, Montgomery County Commissioner. “Together with my fellow Commissioners, we are committed to making advancements for this great County. I look forward to meeting more of the people who live and work here, as well as speaking with and learning from the 2,800+ County employees who diligently serve our community every day.”
Over 1,000 people registered to attend this significant moment in Montgomery County’s history. Residents, community partners, representatives of federal and state elected officials, and other partners joined together to celebrate the new leaders of the County, with several historic firsts.
With the support of her fellow Commissioners, Jamila H. Winder became the first African American woman to hold the position of Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
“This honor of being the first is not lost on me. I am filled with gratitude that other little Black girls and boys can now see themselves in a position of power and can aspire for greatness in their own way,” said Winder. “While this moment is historic, I maintain the same commitment that I have had since I joined the Board of Commissioners last year: creating sustainable solutions that benefit all residents and look out for the most vulnerable.”
Makhija, who made history as the first person of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent elected to a Board of Commissioners in Pennsylvania, also was named the Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
“As Chair of the Board of Elections for the next four years, I assure you that in Montgomery County, no matter who you support, no matter what outside pressures come upon us, we will protect every single vote,” said Makhija. “County government is the bedrock of democracy; it’s where we safeguard our fundamental right to vote which protects all other rights; where every citizen has a chance to shape our shared future.
The ceremony also honored nine elected officials who head various departments within the County. Those include Clerk of Courts Lori Schrieber, Controller Karen Sanchez, Coroner Dr. Janine Darby, District Attorney Kevin Steele, Prothonotary Noah Marlier, Recorder of Deeds Jeanne Sorg, Register of Wills Tina Lawson, Esq., Sheriff Sean Kilkenny, and Treasurer Jason Salus.
Dr. Janine Darby and Tina Lawson made history as the first Black women to hold the offices of Coroner and Register of Wills in Montgomery County, respectively. Schrieber, Sanchez, Steele, Marlier, Sorg, Kikenny, and Salus continue their service to Montgomery County in their respective offices.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be held on Thursday, January 11 at 10 a.m. Participants are welcome to attend in person at One Montgomery Plaza, located at 425 Swede Street, Commissioners’ Boardroom, 8th Floor, Norristown PA 19311, or virtually via livestream.
View photos of the ceremony by Margo Reed Photography.
View the recorded ceremony.
View video recap of the ceremony.
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