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Dhaliwal seeks 4th term as Lathrop mayor
Sonny Dhaliwal takes the oath of office after being elected to his third term as Lathrop’s mayor in 2016. Dhaliwal has decided that he will seek another two-year term. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/ The Bulletin

After three terms as Lathrop’s mayor, Sonny Dhaliwal left the decision about whether to run for another two-year term up to his constituents. 

And they responded in overwhelming fashion. 

After posting something on his personal Facebook page asking residents and constituents whether they would like for him to serve as mayor for another cycle, he received more than 450 comments – all of them packed with unwavering support and thanking for his tenure during what has been one of the calmest and most productive periods in Lathrop’s history. 

But he wasn’t about to even ponder that question unless he had the backing of both the people he represents, and the people that work with him on that dais. 

“It’s very important to know that you have the backing of your colleagues,” Dhaliwal said. “I’ve always been a consensus builder, and it’s better knowing that you have the support of the people you’re working with. 

“Although we live in a democracy and everybody has a right to their opinion, this council has been voting with the best interest of the city in mind and we all work very well together. Having their support and the support of the community is an honor.”

Dhaliwal returned his nomination paperwork last week, and found out on Tuesday that he had qualified to once again be on the ballot. 

First elected to the post in 2012 – midway through his second term on the city council – Dhaliwal has presided over a period of unrivaled growth in the city’s nearly 30-year history, and has been part of a council that has transformed Lathrop into a regional powerplayer when it comes to attracting business. 

While in the past the Lathrop City Council has devolved into brutal infighting and was known more for sideshow antics than serious policy, the city has become a destination for warehousing and light industrial business thanks to its location at the intersection of two California freeways – entities that appreciate the business-friendly environment and the calm dynamic that was ushered in during Dhaliwal’s tenure at the helm. 

“When you’re an independent decision maker and you don’t represent anybody, and you don’t owe anybody anything – and your only allegiance is to the people you represent – it’s easier to get along with your colleagues,” Dhaliwal said. “There’s no arm twisting that goes on – I encourage every one of my colleagues to vote their conscience. 

“That’s how we’ve been doing business for the last six years – if there’s anybody I owe anything to, it’s the people of Lathrop that gave me an opportunity to serve them.”

While he hasn’t yet pondered his next move and is instead focusing on completing the work that he and his colleagues have begun to make Lathrop a livable community for the more than 20,000 people that call it home, Dhaliwal noted that he has considered his future while considering all of the responsibilities that he still has while helping steer and manage an emerging city. 

At the end of the day, he said, he loves Lathrop hopes that voters – who overwhelmingly supported him in 2016 despite a vicious campaign that tried to tie him into some of the more unsavory political entities in San Joaquin County – will see fit to allow to keep doing what it is that he loves to do. 

“It’s up to the Lathrop people – I’ll continue to serve them as long as they want me to,” Dhaliwal said. “There does come a time in life when you sit back and think about our priorities – both of my boys are in high school this year, and right now I’m balancing my fulltime job, my duties as a father and a husband, and serving as mayor. 

“So far so good, but we’ll have to see what the future holds.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.