Kavitha Tankha, the Indian-American mayor of Los Altos Hills, California, was overjoyed this year as she led the Independence Day vehicle parade on July 4 in San Francisco Bay Area.
Last year, the Covid-19 restrictions had not allowed a grand Independence Day celebration, but several people cheered on this year, waving flags.
“This was our first big festival,” Tankha, who was elected the mayor of Los Altos early this year for a year, was quoted as saying.
“People came out not just to support the mayor… it’s a new beginning after the pandemic,” she added, happy that the town came out in strength.
Tankha said that things were now getting better, but the situation has been very tough.
“It was sweet to see parents bringing in their kids; it’s a time to celebrate, it was symbolic,” Tankha said.
“The fact that as a country we came out of the pandemic,” she added. “It’s the power of a nation that comes together. In a year the vaccine was done — and that is the reason it allowed us to come out and celebrate our democracy.”
53-year-old Tankha has lived in Los Altos Hills for a long time now. After spending eight years on the Los Altos Hills Planning Commission, she was elected to the Los Altos Hills City Council seat in 2018.
Tankha has a Bachelor in Arts and LLB degree from Delhi University and an LLM from the Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago. She worked as an attorney in multinational law firms around the globe for as many as 15 years.
“I feel very American and very Indian at the same time, and that’s the beauty of this country,” Tankha said.
She added: “I feel proud of both the heritages — US and India. We all come from different places but we come here for a shared dream, and that is the American way of life.”
Tankha, who has been a Democrat for a long time, has served on the National Finance Committee, Hillary for America. She has hosted several elected officials at her home in Los Altos Hills, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Congressman Ro Khanna and Congressman Ami Bera.
Tankha said that she wishes to form a public-private partnership to help install the underground utility in her tenure. She has also decided to expand broadband.
“In most parts of town it’s hard to bring broadband,” Tankha said.
She is also planning to maintain a pathway system so that people can walk.
Pointing out that the season of fires was starting up, Tankha said: “The fire came close enough — just five miles away from Los Altos Hills — last year.”
Tankha is a part of several NGOs and focuses on the empowerment of women and girls.