Upendra Chivukula

A father motivated by public service, not his ego.
A man of accomplishment, not hype.
A leader who delivers, not a traditional politician.

Upendra Chivukula for Assembly


A Humble Start

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.

Upendra Chivukula

Upendra smiles during his busy routine.

"Education is the greatest equalizer."

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.

Upendra Chivukula

Talking with a constituent in his office.

A Leader Emerges

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. Click here to view Upendra's detailed biography.

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.

Upendra Chivukula and President Bill Clinton

Upendra meeting with President Bill Clinton

New Jersey General Assembly

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 is the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee and a member of the Transportation, Public Works, and Independent Authorities 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.

A Rising Star

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.

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Detailed Biography of Upendra Chivukula

New Jersey General Assembly

  • Assemblyman, 17th Legislative District (2002 - present)
  • Deputy Speaker (2007 - present)
  • Chair, Telecommunications and Utilities Committee
  • Vice Chair, Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee
  • Member, Transportation, Public Works, and Independent Authorities Committee
  • Former Member, Appropriations Committee
  • Former Member, Commerce and Economic Development Committee
  • First Asian-Indian American elected to NJ General Assembly and the fourth in the nation to be elected to state office

State of New Jersey Committees, Commissions, and Boards

  • Member, NJ Commission on Science and Technology
  • Member, Asian American Study Foundation
  • Member, Council of State Governments/Eastern States Regional Conference on Energy and Environment
  • Member, New Jersey International Education Task Force
  • Member, HIT Commission
  • Founding Member Co-Chair, NJ Science & Technology Legislative Caucus
  • Founding Member Co-Chair, NJ World Languages & International Studies Legislative Caucus
  • Past Member, NJ Board of Canvassers
  • Public Member, New Jersey State Board of Social Work Examiners (Appointed by Gov. Florio, served 1994 - 1997)

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

  • Executive Committee Member, National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators
  • Member, NCSL's Task Force on Homeland Security
  • Member, NCSL's Executive Committee Task Force on Immigration and the States
  • Member, Energy Task Force
  • Member, Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force
  • Past Chairman, NCSL's Communications, Technology and Interstate Commerce Committee
  • Past Member, NCSL Executive Committee
  • Past Member, NCSL's Connecting America Foundation for State Legislatures (FSL) Partners Project
  • Past Member, NCSL's Energy and Electric Utilities Committee
  • Past Member, NCSL's Agricultural, Environment and Energy Committee

Somerset and Middlesex Counties, NJ

  • Board Member, Somerset County Affordable Housing Board of Trustees
  • Member, Somerset County Cultural Commission
  • Member, Middlesex County Cultural and Historic Commission

Franklin Township, New Jersey

  • Former Franklin Twp. Mayor (2000)
  • Former Franklin Twp. Deputy Mayor (1998)
  • Former Franklin Township 5th Ward Councilman (1997 - 2005)
  • Member of Franklin Twp. Community Foundation, Finance Oversight Committee, Traffic Management Committee, Fire Prevention Board, Emergency Life Support Delivery, Integrated Communications Committee, Emergency Management, Franklin Twp. Planning Board, Economic Development Committee, Community / Senior Center Steering Committee, and the Bicentennial Celebration Committee

Democratic Convention and Presidential Elections

  • Member of Delegation, Democratic National Convention (1996, 2000, and 2008)
  • Alternate Delegate, Democratic National Convention (2004)
  • Presidential Elector in New Jersey during the 2004 Presidential Election

Civic Activities

  • Leadership New Jersey Fellow (1998)
  • Fannie Mae Fellow (2007)
  • Flemming Institute Fellow (2003)
  • Past President, Franklin Township Lions Club and Zone 2 Chairman in District 16-D
  • National Committee Member, Association of Indians in America
  • Past Secretary, NJ Chapter of Indian American Forum for Political Education
  • Past President, Asian American Political Coalition

Professional Experience

  • Consultant, WTC, Inc.
  • Consultant, Rangam Consultants, Inc.
  • Senior Member, Technical Staff for Bell Laboratories
  • Co-author of six books


  • Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering, Guindy's Engineering College (Anna University), (Chennai, India)
  • Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering, City College of the City University of New York (New York, NY)
  • Certificate for Senior Managers in State and Local Government from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Graduate, University of Virginia, Emerging Leaders Program

Awards and Accomplishments

  • New Jersey Technology Council's Legislative Advocate for Technology Award (2003)
  • NJ Small Business Development Centers' Legislative Award (2004)
  • Inducted into the High-Tech Hall of Fame (2004 )
  • New Jersey Policy Research Organization's - Leader of Innovation (2005)
  • NJ Small Business Development Centers' Legislator of the Year Award (2005)
  • NAACP Edison/Metuchen Branch - Adam Clayton Powell Award
  • ADL - Americanism Award
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