Bobbie Singh-Allen on Nov. 9 declared victory in the race to be Elk Grove’s next mayor.
Her declaration came shortly after current Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly congratulated her as the winner.
As of Nov. 6, Singh-Allen was leading the mayoral election with 46% of the votes counted, to Ly’s 34%. A third candidate, Brian Pastor, collected 18% of the votes, according to results released by Sacramento County’s Voter Registration and Elections office.
Although Ly conceded the election to Singh-Allen, she has yet to be officially certified as the winner of the mayoral race and ballots are still being counted.
Singh-Allen told the Citizen that she felt proud of the support for her campaign.
“I’m just feeling a lot of pride in our team and all of the supporters that came out and supported me,” she said. “Gosh, calls, the phone banking, the door knocking, dropping off literature, the texting, everything, those that donated. I’m just feeling incredibly proud right now.”
Singh-Allen will become the nation’s first directly elected Sikh woman mayor, according to her campaign.
The nation’s first non-elected Sikh female mayor was Preet Didbal, who became Yuba City’s mayor in 2017. She assumed that role as part of a city council rotation for that position.
Singh-Allen, who emigrated from India as a child, described her status as the country’s first directly elected Sikh woman mayor as an “incredible honor.”
“I’m almost speechless about it, because I know with that comes a great sense of responsibility,” she said. “It’s also a reminder that this journey was not about me. It was to show not only immigrants, but to show young girls the possibility that yes, this could be you.
“As someone who came at the age of 4 to this country, I never dreamt that this day was possible. But it’s a great opportunity to sort of reflect that we shattered a lot of glass ceilings in the last week with the election of Kamala Harris as the first female vice president, who not only is half black, but she’s also half Indian.”
Singh-Allen called the diversity of the support she received in her campaign as her “greatest honor.”
In declaring victory in the mayoral race, she will step down as a trustee on the Elk Grove Unified School District board after serving for eight years.
“Something that’s given me great pride and joy, and that’s being a school board member,” Singh-Allen said. “It was a lot for me to run (for mayor), because I so love the school district. I love all the work that I’ve done for the last eight years and the accomplishments and building those great relationships.”
Singh-Allen referred to her campaign as “strong and vigorous.”
“That’s unheard of to raise $300,000 in 90 to 100 days,” she said. “We had to tap every resource (to raise those funds).”
Singh-Allen joined the mayoral race in late July. The race drew a lot of attention, as several local women, including Singh-Allen, alleged that supporters or associates of Ly harassed them over the past few years.
Ly denied any involvement in the alleged harassment of these women.
The City Council reviewed the harassment allegations against the mayor in August, and voted to request a Sacramento County Grand Jury investigation regarding those allegations. All four council members later endorsed Singh-Allen for mayor.
Singh-Allen commended the “courageous women” who made claims that they were harassed by Ly’s supporters.
“It takes a lot to share that, to speak up and speak out, particularly if anybody holds a position of power,” she said. “The fact that some of the private citizens came forward and shared their stories, I’m proud of them. But this wasn’t about me.
“This journey started by working together as part of this movement and I was one of those that were part of this movement. At that point, I sort of had to heed that call to step up (and run for mayor).”
Singh-Allen noted that during the first 100 days in her role as the city’s mayor, she will focus on COVID-19 economic recovery, good governance, and her traffic, congestion and transportation plan.
In approaching the economic downturn, Singh-Allen plans to set up a COVID-19 economic recovery taskforce, consisting of business, labor, nonprofit and other community leaders.
She mentioned that she desires to ensure that the city can provide services and assistance to working families and small businesses.
“This will include conducting an audit of what we have done as a city and identifying quickly areas where more needs to be done,” she said.
Also important to Singh-Allen is making sure that the city government has transparency and accountability in the mayor’s office.
“I will schedule a retreat with our City Council members, and identify goals and objectives for our city, as well as conduct community town halls to hear directly ideas and concerns from Elk Grove residents,” she said. “Collaboration is central to good governance and putting your interests first.”
She also plans to create working groups to address local traffic congestion and transportation issues.
Singh-Allen mentioned that as the city’s future leader, she is ready to focus on the future.
“We’ve overcome a lot of adversity and a lot of darkness to get to this point, and I really want to focus on the future,” she said. “I want to be a mayor for all of Elk Grove, including those that didn’t vote for me. Everyone has a seat at the table, because the work is going to require all of us collaborating and helping our city.”
Ly addresses the community, city staff, campaign supporters
In a Nov. 9 press statement, Ly announced he was honored to serve as the city’s mayor, as well as a City Council member and an Elk Grove school trustee.
“As I have always said, any elected office is the people’s office,” he wrote. “Elected officials serve at your discretion. I still and will always believe that: For the people, by the people. Thank you for the privilege of a lifetime.”
Ly made history in 2016 when he became the nation’s first mayor of Hmong descent. He referred to the city’s staff as an “amazing group of people,” and he also commended his supporters.
“No words or gesture will ever be able to adequately express our appreciation and gratitude for your love and support all these years,” he told his supporters.
The mayor also wrote words of advice to his campaign team.
“Be proud of the campaign we ran,” he wrote. “We kept our integrity, character and decency intact. We did not tear people down to gain or dim their light to make ours shine brighter. As I have always shared with you, that is not our way. It has never been our way.
“Be proud of the teamwork and heart that you have put into this campaign. Never stop giving your help and support to those who ask, never stop believing in the goodness of people, and never stop doing the right thing, even if you’re the only one doing it.”
Ly concluded his statement, writing, “May God bless each and every one of you, this great city and these United States of America.”