Pensions is her biggest concern

Preet Didbal, as the newly anointed Mayor of Yuba City, created history as the town's first Sikh woman to hold this office. Sutter County-the place she was elected from- has one of the biggest community of Sikhs in the United States. The religion has its origins in the Punjab region of India.

When the event is seen on the basis of religion, Didbal's appointment was not a big deal. The U.S. has a number of Sikh mayors. In fact, December saw another Sikh mayor, Ravi Bhalla, being elected in Hoboken, New Jersey. Didbal is, however, the pioneer among Sikh women to be elected to a Mayoral position. According to the Sikh Coalition, about 500,000 Sikhs reside in the United States, and the event of a Sikh mayor is a momentous decision for them. Jaydeep Singh, a member of the coalition, said he was happy to see a person who looked like him hold public office in the U.S.

Didbal was born and raised in Yuba City. She was the daughter of farmers who emigrated from India during the latter part of the 1960s. She was the first member of her family to complete her higher studies and gain a college degree. Didbal also did get her masters. She was also the first city council member as a Sikh woman in 2014.

Didbal is candid about her past. She readily talks about picking peaches in the fields with her parents. There were also confessions about overcoming the various cultural barriers encountered by the women in the Sikh community. It was at this time during the media interview that the subject of her being raped when she was a young woman came up.

Didbal did not allow the trauma of rape to affect her career. She studied hard to get a bachelor's qualification and then a master's of business administration (MBA) to get a succession of jobs.  The first job was at Department of Corrections administered by the state government. She then got a posting at State Compensation Insurance Fund. In 2014, she got elected to Yuba City council. She is now 49 years old. The mayoral post is elected every year by a council staffed by five members.

When asked about what she will do now as she is mayor, Didbal said that pensions continue to be her biggest concern. She wants to foster increased economic growth. The roads will be expanded from the present two lanes to four lanes.

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