Bobbie Singh-Allen has created history by becoming the first Indian-American Sikh woman elected as mayor of Elk Grove, California.
She defeated incumbent Mayor Steve Ly in the November 3 general election by winning 46 percent of the votes.
For the past 28 years, Singh-Allen has been a resident of Elk Grove, located 72 miles from San Francisco.
When she was 4 years old, Singh-Allen came to the United States with her parents from Jalandhar, Punjab.
She completed her schooling from Turlock High School, and earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University at Sacramento and her juris doctor from Lincoln Law School.
She works as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the California Lodging Industry Association.
Singh-Allen has been an Elk Grove Unified School District Board Area 4 trustee since 2012. She also is the member of the Elk Grove Teen Center’s board of directors and the delegate assembly for the California School Boards Association.
On becoming mayor of a city with over 200,000 population, Singh-Allen told indica News that she contested because there were “several complaints” against the mayor about his behavior.
So people, including her long-time friend Congressman Ami Bera, urged her to run for mayor.
“It was Sunday afternoon [when Bera called],” Singh-Allen said. “He encouraged and guided me…. So with his blessings and the community’s blessing, I decided to run.”
Aasked what would be her first task as mayor, she said that her platform’s big focus is on economic recovery.
“We have struggled with businesses and a struggling family,”Singh-Allen said. “Economic recovery is very important and we are in a global pandemic. So one of the things I have planned to seek support on is launching an economic recovery push first, and it would be a combination of business leaders, labor leaders, non-profits and others to work on helping provide guidance on economic recovery for the city of Elk Grove.
“I ran on the platform of good governance, which means our communities and our residence their voices are addressed openly,”she said.
“I wanted to have a much more transparent, inclusive process with our community…hearing directly people’s concern and hearing directly from them,” she said. “I also ran on public safety — making sure our community is safe.”
She added: “I want to make sure we have an inclusive environment that represents our diversity and so want to bring that mindset to the table.”
Elk Grove is where two elderly Sikh men were shot dead while they were on an afternoon walk in 2011.
Singh -Allen said: “That incident propelled me to run for the school board.”
“I am a big proponent of equity making and we want to create a place that all cultures and religions and different communities are safe and protected and feel they are part of the city, “ Singh-Allen said.
The city has a diverse population and south Asians are well represented in the city of Elk Grove.
Speaking on the challenges she faced, she said that due to the pandemic she was not able to do grassroots campaigning and was not able to host a large event or rallies and carry out door-to-door campaigning.
However, she said she had a very robust digital campaign, including social media as well as commercials on television.
She said she wanted not only to attract new jobs, but to have high caliber companies.
“It’s a combination of not just working with my colleagues but with our business leaders and Chamber of Commerce in order to attract those high paying jobs in the city of Elk Grove, which is what we need,” she said
Singh-Allen also serves as a commissioner for Visit California, is a member of Sacramento Regional Coalition for Tolerance, served as a national delegate for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and delegate for the California Democratic Party.