Jasmeet Kaur Bains made history as the first Sikh woman of Indian descent to win the election in the California Assembly. On November 8, Democrat Jasmeet Kaur Bains became the first woman of Indian and South Asian descent to be elected to the California Assembly. She is the daughter of a Sikh immigrant. After a tightly fought election, she was elected the winner of District 35.
Leticia Perez, a Democrat running for Kern County Supervisor, gave her a tough primary fight and received 13,982 votes, but Bains defeated her with 13,721 votes. Bains had an early advantage against Leticia Perez in the Democrat vs Democrat contest for the 35th Assembly District in Kern County. Much of East Bakersfield is part of the 35th Assembly district, which extends from Arvin to Delano.
However, the roles were reversed in the rematch during the midterm elections, where Bains received 10,827 votes, or 58.9% of the vote, according to the Kern County Election Results website, while Perez received much fewer votes, 7,555, or 41.1%, placing her in a distant second place.
Bains is a medical director of Bakersfield Recovery Services, an organisation that provides addiction treatment for people. She received the 2019 Hero of Family Medicine Award from the California Academy of Family Physicians as well as the 2021 Beautiful Bakersfield Award from the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.
Family physician Jasmeet Bains, 34, works at Adventist Health in Bakersfield and this was her first attempt at running for office. The Sikh and American Indian communities generously contributed to her over $500,000 in fundraising efforts. Many Punjabi women participated in her campaign.
The aim of Bains’ campaign was to expand access to high-quality healthcare and assist small companies in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. She promised to prioritise air quality, water infrastructure, homelessness, healthcare, and other issues in her campaign appeal.
Bains and her family relocated to Delano, California, in 1989. In 1979, her father emigrated from Punjab, India, where he owned a Chrysler car dealership. She asserted that even as a young child, she had witnessed her father’s ascent from being a mechanic to being the successful owner of his own auto dealership, where she now collaborates with him in a managerial role. She acknowledges, according to her website, that “we cannot truly be healthy if our economy is not strong.”
Bains stated that once elected to the state assembly, she would make professional technical education a high priority, invest more resources for kids at every level, from pre-K through community college and beyond, and ensure that they could return to the classrooms safely. She has also promised to fight for financing to upgrade water infrastructure as well as companies, residences, and farms.
Bains gathered with nearly 100 family members, friends, and supporters to watch the results of the election at Tony’s Firehouse Grill and Pizza in Delano, a community in northern Kern County where she grew up.
She wrote to the Bakersfield Californian in a text message, “It’s an exciting night… I’m encouraged by the early returns and couldn’t be more grateful for the support we’ve received across Kern County”. Bains stated that it was a difficult decision to enter the Assembly election since “I love being a doctor.”
She told the Bakersfield Californian, “If I want to be the physician that I always dreamed of being, I need to make sure that we have the correct legislation in place”.
This year’s election featured an unusual number of South Asian and Indian American candidates from all over the United States. Both seasoned politicians and first-timers scored significant victories. The Bakersfield Californian reported that although “it was a Democrat vs. Democrat race,” “the count leant heavily towards the family care doctor and political newcomer.”