The Evolved Man of the Week: Mayor Michael Tubbs

Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to Stanford University graduate and Stockton Mayor, Michael Tubbs.

Tubbs attended Hamilton Middle School. In 2007, while a student at Franklin High School, Tubbs won an essay contest sponsored by Alice Walker. His essay about overcoming the mistakes his parents made was published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tubbs graduated with the International Baccalaureate diploma from Franklin High School in 2008. That July, Tubbs was a member of a team of three San Joaquin County teenagers who won a national debate competition in Cincinnati sponsored by the NAACP. They advocated for universal health care, and the debate was followed by a speech by the presidential candidate, Barack Obama.

He then attended Stanford University on a need-based scholarship, graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. He later received a Master of Arts in Policy, Leadership, and Organization Studies. As an undergraduate, he received a Truman Scholarship, and was the joint winner of the university’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for “distinctive and exceptional contributions to…the quality of student life.” During his time at Stanford, he also served as President of the school’s NAACP chapter and interned at the White House.

Tubbs announced his candidacy for Stockton Council District 6 for the November 6, 2012, general election, running against incumbent Dale Pritchen. He won the primary. He received a $10,000 campaign donation from Oprah Winfrey after meeting her while she toured the Stanford campus.

Tubbs went on to win the election, receiving 61.7% of the vote, and took office in January 2013 at the age of 22, making him the youngest councilmember in Stockton history and one of the youngest elected officials in the United States. His candidacy was also the subject of a documentary, True Son, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

Tubbs announced his candidacy for mayor of Stockton on September 2, 2015, running against incumbent Mayor Anthony Silva in the 2016 general election. He was endorsed by President Barack Obama on November 2, 2016, less than a week before the election. He went on to win the election, receiving 70.6% of the vote and becoming both the city’s first black mayor and at 26 the youngest person to hold that office. His term in office began on January 1, 2017.

Tubbs is a proponent of a Universal Basic Income. As part of a pilot project in Stockton, the city is providing a $500 stipend to selected residents for 18 months with “no strings attached.”

Tubbs’ program started in February 2019, could serve as a test case for UBI implementation. For eight months, 125 Stockton residents living at or below the median income line (about $46,000 annually) have been getting $500 monthly stipends. The money was distributed through the mail in the form of debit cards.

Here is Mayor Tubbs in his own words about the pilot UBI program:

“In this country, we have an issue with associating people who are struggling economically and people of color with vices like drug use, alcohol use, gambling,” … “I thought it was important to illustrate that folks aren’t using this money for things like that. They are using it for real necessities.”

Mayor Tubbs, contents that the UBI isn’t the sole answer to solving poverty and inequality. But rather should be just one of the tools used to combat poverty and lift people.

Today we honor Mayor Michael Tubbs as our Evolved Man of the Week.


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