The city that thousands of Indian-American Sikhs have called home for more than a 100 years, finally has a woman mayor belonging to that community.
Preet Didbal, longtime Planning Commissioner and lifetime Yuba City resident, and City Councilmember since 2014, was elected mayor Nov. 30, possibly making her the first Indian-American Sikh woman in the U.S., to lead a city. She was appointed by the Council and is scheduled to be sworn-in Dec. 5, according to kcra.com.
“I’m speechless. It’s so humbling,” Didbal told kcra.com. “Seeing someone that looks like you, that comes from the same faith as you, to be elected in a public office in this country is inspiring and exciting. And it’s definitely moving,” Sikh Coalition’s Jaydeep Singh is quoted saying in the kcra report.
While there have been male Sikh mayors in the past, including the most recent, Ravi Bhalla of Hoboken, New Jersey, and before that, former Mayor of Laurel Hollow in New York, Harvinder Singh Anand, Didbal is likely the first Sikh woman to occupy that office, according to kcra.com. “Congratultions to Mayor Preet Didbal!” the Sikh Coalition tweeted.
Didbal, a single mother, has lived in Yuba City, raising her daughter who attends River Valley High School there. According to her bio on the Council website, Didbal’s “focus is built around children being raised in a community that invests in the success of young people and will look to develop more youth and family activities.” She is also committed to creating an economic environment that will provide good-paying jobs for returning college graduates, the site says.
Didbal was appointed to the Sutter County Planning Commission by Supervisor Larry Munger in 2004, where she served two years. In 2006, she was appointed to the Yuba City Planning Commission, serving for 8 years, the last two as chairperson
Mayor-elect Didbal holds an Associate Degree in nutrition, a Bachelor’s Degree in physical education with a physical therapy concentration, from California State University, Sacramento, and a Masters in public administration with a concentration in Health Services Administration from the University of San Francisco.
Since 2015, she has worked as a process improvement advisor at the State Compensation Insurance Fund, according to her LinkedIn profile.
From 2011 to 2015, she was an internal audits and appeals manager at California Correctional Health Care Services in the California Department of Corrections.