BY RATTAN MALL
PREET Didbal of California’s Yuba City, the first Sikh woman to be elected mayor in the U.S., told The VOICE on Thursday: “It’s very exciting. I am just so humbled and just very appreciative to the community investing in me and having confidence in me to be able to represent our city and that means a lot.”
Didbal, who is currently the city’s vice mayor and who will be sworn in on December 5, added: “It’s such an honour … coming from a traditional background and to be able to just start breaking barriers and being an example for young girls, young women that’s it okay and we have to try to do more and be a part of our communities.”
She said her dad had inspired her to live her life with meaning and contribution. She added: “So this really hits home as far as I truly, truly want to give back and more than I’ve ever wanted to before. I have always volunteered. I’ve always done a lot within our community, but I just have much more gratitude towards doing that.”
Her dad passed away recently. Her mom still lives independently, but she takes care of her.
Didbal, who was born in California’s Yuba City, is a single mom and has an 18-year-old daughter, Arianna Khan.
The Sutter-Yuba region is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the country, according to KCRA-TV. More than 100,000 people attend Yuba City’s
annual Sikh Parade (Nagar Kirtan) every year.
Didbal told KCRA-TV: “You talk about the American Dream. And here we are. My parents worked the fields, were labor workers — did the peaches, the prunes. I worked alongside with them — I have three sisters — and we all did. We worked in canneries, graveyard shifts. My parents worked very, very hard to give us the life that we have today. They traveled from India in 1968 and my dad made a statement. He said, ‘We travel to America to give our unborn a good
Didbal was first elected to City Council in November 2014.
According to the City’s website, “Her 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. There will be a concentrated emphasis on creating an economic environment
that will provide good-paying jobs for returning college graduates.
“An experienced, dedicated civil servant, Councilwoman Didbal sees it important be a good steward of taxpayer dollars by fighting taxes and being extremely conservative with the City’s budget.”
Didbal was appointed to the Sutter County Planning Commission in 2004, where she served two years. In 2006, she was appointed to the Yuba City Planning Commission where she carried out her eighth year of service and two years as Chairperson.
She holds an Associate Degree in Nutrition, a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education with a Physical Therapy concentration and Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Health Services Administration. She is a Manager in the Policy and Risk Management Branch in Correctional Health Care Services at the California Department of Corrections.