Preet Didbal, a longtime Planning Commissioner and lifetime Yuba City resident, and City Councilmember since 2014, was sworn in on December 5th, possibly making her the first Indian-American Sikh woman in the U.S., to lead a city. She was appointed by the Council and was sworn-in as the mayor of 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.
“I’m speechless. It’s so humbling,” Didbal told the media. “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 a media 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. The Sikh Coalition estimates around 500,000 people who follow the Sikh faith live in the United States.