Born and raised in Stockton, Michael Tubbs wasn’t expecting to return to his troubled hometown when he left for college. But the murder of a cousin back home changed his thinking, and after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University, Tubbs returned to Stockton determined to make a difference in the city’s future.
In 2012, at the age of 22, Tubbs ran for and won a seat on the Stockton City Council, becoming one of the youngest city councilors in the country. On the City Council, Tubbs co-founded the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, a civic partnership aimed at addressing the root causes of intergenerational poverty. He also championed the creation of the City’s Office of Violence Prevention and, as Chair of the Audit and Legislative Committee, was part of the effort to lead the city out of bankruptcy.
In 2016, Tubbs, then 26, ran for and was elected mayor of Stockton, becoming both the youngest and the first black mayor in the city’s history. Since he took office in 2017, Tubbs has secured more than $20 million in philanthropic capital to launch Stockton Scholars, a scholarship program aimed at tripling the number of Stockton students entering and graduating from college. He also has led the effort to bring Advance Peace, an innovative violence prevention program, to Stockton. Now in his third year as mayor, Tubbs is deepening his commitment to addressing systemic poverty by implementing an experimental basic income program for city residents.