Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs Is Leading A Renaissance, Wants To Invest In People Directly

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Mayor Michael Tubbs
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs responds to a question during his appearance before the Sacramento Press Club, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Tubbs, 27, is one of the nation’s youngest big city mayors and has launched programs to provide universal basic income to a group of low-income residents and guaranteed college scholarships for public high school graduates. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs knows what it’s like to feel disenfranchised. He grew up in severe poverty in a city Forbes deemed the most miserable city in America two years in a row.

But education was his great equalizer and he made history two years ago at age 26 when he became the youngest mayor ever elected to a major American city. Now 28, Tubbs is implementing policies he hopes will help the next generation of youth have success right in their own backyards instead of leaving as he once did.

Tubbs excelled in school, received a full scholarship to Stanford University, landed internships at Google and the White House and was building a life for himself in Washington, DC. However, in 2010 when his cousin was murdered, Tubbs he reflecte don the state of his hoemtownn.

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“I was wondering, ‘How was all this good stuff happening for me helping my family, when they’re still in Stockton and they’re still dealing with the grief and pain, and poverty,” Tubbs asked in an interview with Forbes.

He came home and went to work. First he served on City Council for four years beginning at age 22, then he ran for mayor. After getting elected in 2017, he began establishing programs and funds to help Stockton’s residents. One of them was the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) fund, which seeks investments to create guaranteed income for residents.

In addition to guaranteed income, Tubbs is focused on scholarships and opportunity zones. He wants to invest directly in his residents so he can help transform their lives for the better and offer them more than lip service.

He said he wants to “be a mayor that not only talked about Stockton’s biggest issues, but did something to try to solve them, and … put the city on a vastly different trajectory.”