The Honorable Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula (b. October 8, 1950) rose from humble beginnings to become the man he is today. Born in Nellore, India, Upendra moved south to Chennai as a two-year old as his father searched for work. Living with his parents, grandmother, and five siblings in a hut, there was never enough money to go around.
Undaunted, Upendra aspired to achieve the “American Dream”, and believed that hard work would allow him to accomplish his goals. “Education is the greatest equalizer” he says, and will tell you how he used a small lamp to study late into the night during his childhood years. He received a merit scholarship to study engineering at the College of Engineering Guindy (Anna University) in Chennai, and after much hard work, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
With only a few dollars in his pocket, Upendra immigrated to the United States in 1974, and received a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from City College of the City University of New York. At City University, he met his future wife, Dayci.
As a grassroots organizer in the 1980’s, Upendra gained the support of his community and earned valuable leadership skills. He was appointed by James Florio, then the Governor of New Jersey, to be a Public Member of the New Jersey State Board of Social Work Examiners from 1994 to 1997. Upendra ran for public office after being encouraged by his friends and supporters, and in 1997 was elected to the Township Council of Franklin Twp., NJ, the largest municipality in Somerset County. He was elected as Deputy Mayor of the Council in 1998, and as Mayor in 2000.
He was a Member of Delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1996, 2000, and 2008, and was an alternate delegate in 2004. Chivukula was also one of the Presidential Electors for New Jersey in the 2004 Presidential Election. He has served on numerous boards, committees, and commissions on the state, county, and local levels.
Upendra has invested his time and energy in addressing the needs of his constituents. He oversaw years of stable taxes, and increased the economic prosperity of his community.
In 2002, Upendra was elected to the New Jersey Legislature, in the 17th Legislative District. And he hasn’t wasted anytime – Upendra works full time to accomplish real change for the citizens of New Jersey.
Upendra’s colleagues in the Assembly recognized his unique leadership qualities, and elected him as a Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Telecommunications & Utilities Committee. Upendra also serves as a member of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
Upendra holds the proud distinction of being the first Indian-American elected to the New Jersey Legislature, and only the fourth Indian-American to be elected to a state legislature.
Upendra has resided in Franklin Township, New Jersey for over 30 years with his wife, Dayci, his son, Suraj, and daughter, Damianty. Hard work and dedication have allowed Upendra to inspire the public’s imagination. An engineer who speaks a half-dozen languages, a husband and father who serves as a Deputy Speaker in the NJ General Assembly, Upendra is a leader, innovator, and the embodiment of the American Dream.
Chief of Staff: Sheridan Balmeo
Constituent Relations: Ryan Lemanski
888 Easton Ave.
Somerset, NJ 08873
Phone: (732) 247-3999
Fax: (732) 247-4383