Satyendra S Huja, initially elected to the Charlottesville City Council in 2007 and reelected in November 2011, was chosen mayor unanimously by the five-member city council on January 3. The term is for two years.
“It says something about a community, when they can elect somebody like me mayor,” Huja told India-West. “It shows that they respect diversity.”
As far as he knows, he added, he is one of only a few Sikh Americans in the city, located about 70 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia, and 115 miles from Washington, DC Huja said that the Asian American population in Charlottesville is about four per cent.
Born in Kohat in an Indian frontier province that is now part of Pakistan, Huja was raised in Uttar Pradesh. He came to the US in 1960 when he was 19 years old to pursue his education.
The Indian American city planner received an undergraduate degree in urban planning from Cornell University. Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, whom he saw, but never met, on the campus at Cornell, was two years ahead of him, he said. Huja then received a master’s degree in urban planning from Michigan State University.