Business owner Jass Sangha became the first candidate to officially launch her bid for Tracy mayor Wednesday night, promising to serve everyone from “Redbridge to under the bridge.”
Sangha stood on a stage in one of her businesses, Nirvaana Banquet and Event Center, with the American flag behind her to kick off her campaign by declaring her reason for running.
“My No. 1 reason, I love Tracy,” she told a crowd of about 70 people. “This is my way of giving back to this country that has given me so much.”
Sangha grew up in Mumbai and her father was in the Indian armed forces. She came to the United States in 1986 and told the crowd Wednesday that she was never afraid of hard work.
“Even having a master’s degree, my first job was at McDonald’s,” she said. “$3.35 an hour cleaning tables, cleaning the bathrooms.”
Sangha has lived in Tracy since 2000. She ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2010 but shortly thereafter became a city planning commissioner — a position she held until last year. In 2015, the Tracy Chamber of Commerce honored her as the Female Citizen of the Year because of her work on several community groups and her establishment of the Diwali Festival of Lights and the first Sikh cultural and educational event at Kimball High School. She also applied for appointment to the City Council in 2016, when former Councilwoman Juana Dement was selected from a field of 15 applicants.
Sangha called herself “fiscally conservative.”
“I don’t believe in spending money I don’t have,” Sangha said. “I don’t believe even in making decisions that affect the community without getting the community involved in that.”
Sangha invited every member of the City Council to attend her campaign kickoff, including potential political rivals.
“This city is going through some stuff and I will never take my time to criticize anyone in any way, shape or form. I like to uplift people. I like to stay positive,” she said. “I even reached out to my opponent who’s going to be running, the other candidate that’s going to be running for the mayor’s seat. I told that person, ‘I give you my word, I will run a clean, ethical, issue-based, community-based campaign.’”
Sangha also talked about empty campaign promises, pledging not to tell voters she could do something just to get their vote.
“I’m not going to say what people want to hear,” she said. “One person cannot do anything, no matter who you are. No matter what position you go for, it’s teamwork. … There is no hidden agenda here. I am working for everyone. I’m not catering to any one political group or any entity in any way, shape or form.”
Sangha, who proudly said she was not on social media because she believed in personal contact, told the crowd that while people might disagree with her on issues from time to time, they would always know where she stood.
“I don’t write my speeches. I’m not scripted. I don’t review what I’m saying over and over because that is a mind game. I speak from my heart so it can reach your heart,” she said. “I’m just a very happy, a very content, a very blessed and at the same time a very proud but humble American. … God bless you. God bless the United States of America."