Dr. Aakash Ahuja and his family have been staying in Santa Clarita, California, for over five years. “The city has been good to us,” the psychiatrist and father of two, says, adding that he believes that the “great city” has the potential to become “the best city in California.”
Last month, Ahuja announced his candidacy for the Santa Clarita City Council. Ahuja told this correspondent that his reason to run for the seat stemmed from his desire to do good for the city, “to give back” to the city which gave him and his family “so much.”
Ahuja says that to get the city to its full potential requires a new perspective, fresh outlook and smart leadership. “I have a vision of making Santa Clarita the No. 1 city by making it more vibrant, prosperous, healthy and sustainable,” he said.
Some of the main issues his campaign is focusing on include reducing traffic congestion, tackling the homeless crisis, access to mental and physical healthcare; making schools safer, helping small businesses grow; and helping the city’s veterans, seniors, teachers and differently-able citizens.
After the Saugus High School shooting in November, Ahuja said school safety is also on his radar and would emphasize enhancing resources, such as increased counseling at schools. Making Santa Clarita a drug-free city and creating more local jobs are also a priority, he said.
Ahuja has also announced that if elected, he will give a 100 percent of his Santa Clarita City Council salary to local charities “to provide relief to veterans, teachers, firefighters and children of all abilities.”
Although the city is primarily Caucasian, “with only 2 percent of South Asians,” Ahuja says the issues he is fighting for are “universal,” and of importance to all residents of Santa Clarita. Ahuja says he is running a grassroots campaign and is canvassing door-to-door.
Along with getting a positive response from the community, Ahuja says he is self-proclaimed optimist and solution-oriented person.
Currently, Ahuja serves on a mental health subcommittee for Assemblywoman Christy Smith, shaping initiatives. If elected, he would leave the subcommittee, but will continue with his day job as a psychiatrist at a Lancaster prison.
So far there are four others who are contesting for the two vacant seats for a four-year term each. The Santa Clarita City Council election will take place in November.