by Linda Mumma

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg took his campaign to Stockton Wednesday morning as part of his first trip to California.

While there, he picked up an endorsement from Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and released several new proposals to fight poverty. During a private event at Trail Coffee Roasters in Downtown Stockton, Bloomberg promised to launch a ‘war on poverty.”

“As president, my job will be to move all of America ahead and that includes committing our country to new and innovative ways to combat poverty,” he said. “There has to be a war on poverty. A successful one, an innovative one, and one that engages local leaders like Mayor Tubbs.”

His new plan includes initiatives to raise the minimum wage, tackle homelessness, and expand affordable housing; proposals that won an endorsement from Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

“As a member of this campaign, I am motivated by beating Donald Trump and also motivated by putting together a set of policies that actually improve the lives of people,” said Tubbs.

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The trip marked Bloomberg’s first trip to California since launching a late bid for the White House in 2020.

“Just a few months ago, President Trump called California a disgrace to our country. Well, I have to tell you that bothers me. Not as a Democrat, but as an American,” he said. “A president is not supposed to be head of a party. He’s supposed to be head of the country.”

While in Stockton, Bloomberg met with city leaders for a roundtable discussion on affordable housing and economic opportunity.

“I believe Stockton is at the forefront of change. I believe Stockton is an anomaly. Amazing things are happening here in Stockton so I’m not surprised at all when I see people want to stop and come in and really take a look deeply at the community,” said Toni McNeil of Faith in the Valley, a community organization working to tackle issues such as affordable housing.

Since Bloomberg is skipping out on several early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the former mayor of New York is relying on states like California, which has the biggest number of delegates and votes on Super Tuesday, to carry his campaign into the primary.

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“California on Super Tuesday is going to be the biggest prize in this whole game. So no doubt he’s spending time in California for that reason and that reason alone,” said CBS13 political analyst Gary Dietrich.

Bloomberg is expected to spend $14 million on television advertisements in the Golden State; a move Tubbs defended as President Donald Trump continues to reel in big money for his re-election campaign.

“I didn’t create the rule of the game and sadly I think in American politics, money matters,” said Tubbs. “I think if you look at what Donald Trump has in the bank, it’s something like $300 or $400 million, so to beat Donald Trump and win the presidency it’s going to cost money.”

During his speech, Bloomberg also announced plans to increase tax credits to build low-income housing, raise the minimum wage to $15 by the year 2025 and expand a tax credit for low-income workers.

From Stockton, he headed to San Francisco along with former Governor Jerry Brown. The two have worked on several projects together including on climate change, but Brown has said he has no plans to endorse Bloomberg for president.

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