An Indian American psychiatrist, Dr. Aakash Ahuja, is seeking to have a bigger voice in his hometown of Santa Clarita in Southern California, recently throwing his name into the mix for a city council seat.
Ahuja officially announced his candidacy on Facebook Jan. 20.
“Hi Friends, I am deeply honored and privileged to announce that I am running for Santa Clarita City Council,” Ahuja wrote in the post, which included a 3-minute, 6 -second video.
When asked by India-West what his inspiration was for running, Ahuja said, “Santa Clarita is great city but I believe that it has the potential to become the best city in California.”
“It requires a new perspective, fresh outlook and smart leadership,” he added. “I have a vision of making Santa Clarita the No. 1 city by making it more vibrant, prosperous, healthy and sustainable.”
According to the candidate, he has several issues he intends to address to take Santa Clarita to the next level.
Among them include improving traffic congestion, homelessness and access to mental and physical healthcare; making Santa Clarita drug free and making the city’s children and schools safer; helping small businesses grow; creating better-paying local jobs; helping emergency personnel; building a youth center; and helping the city’s veterans, seniors, teachers and differently-able citizens, he said.
A self-proclaimed optimist and solution-oriented person, Ahuja added that he doesn’t just focus on the issues.
“But I try to come up with logical, practical solutions which can benefit everybody,” he told India-West. “I have no problem reaching out to people whose opinion is different than me and believe that listening to others and talking when relevant can solve a lot of problems.”
Ahuja notes that he believes working for the benefit of the city is a service and he has “taken a pledge that if given a privilege to serve the people of Santa Clarita, I will donate 100 percent of my salary” to local charities helping seniors, veterans, firefighters, law enforcement, teachers and children.
Currently, Ahuja serves on a mental health subcommittee for Assemblywoman Christy Smith, shaping initiatives. If elected, Ahuja would recuse himself from the subcommittee.
Ahuja also works with College of the Canyons’ Student Health and Wellness Center. Along with Larry Schallert, the Center’s assistant director, Ahuja holds forums where students and parents can openly ask questions regarding mental health.
The Santa Clarita City Council election is set for November.