Four term councilman Saji George has been elected as mayor of the upscale Sunnyvale Township in Texas in the special election held on May 5. He got 54 percent of the votes polled while the nearest opponent Karen Hill received 33 percent votes. The mayoral election, which was nonpartisan. The town is administered by a mayor and five member council. The mayor will hold the office for one year.
The former engineer with the Indian Space Research Organization, was elected mayor of the sparsely populated rural township in Dallas County, Texas. Saji George will serve the remainder of the two-year term of Jim Phaup, who stepped down in March to run for state office on the Republican ticket.
“I feel excited that I get to lead and set the strategy and vision for the township where I have been a resident for the past 18 years. I wanted to put my experience in education and passion for public service into good use and so I stood for the election,” George told India Abroad in a telephone interview after his election.
George came to the U.S. for a master’s degree in engineering at Texas Tech University in 1989, then moved to Dallas. He got involved with the local community, trying to build schools and taking interest in various community issues. He subsequently got an MBA from Southern Methodist University.
“Sunnyvale residents are very educated, and they are informed citizens,” he said. “They want a balanced growth for Sunnyvale and a quality development for the township. I want to enhance quality of life that means I want to protect the green space and would encourage and increase infrastructure to bring in good quality businesses. We need groceries, good restaurants and good shopping centers in the town.” He said that as mayor he will be committed to keeping Sunnyvale safe, protecting its rural atmosphere.
Sunnyvale, which is 15 miles east of Dallas, has a very diverse population. The number of residents, George said, is about 6,500, of which 15 percent are Indian-Americans, mostly of Malayalee origin. George, who used to coach children and help them with studies even when he was in Kerala, is passionate about education. He said although the school board runs the educational system and the mayor’s office does not control the board, he would like to get involved individually as a citizen and work to improve the schools.
“Like all Indians, I put a lot of emphasis on good education,” said George. “Although the school system is very good in Sunnyvale that attracts a lot of people to come and settle in the township, I would like to make them even better.” The Sunnyvale resident and his wife have two children, who are in college.