“It was definitely a big shock,” Tubbs said.
At age 26, he became the city’s youngest mayor with 70% of the vote in 2016. Tubbs was first elected to the Stockton city council in 2012. The Stanford University graduate was only 23 years old when elected to serve on the city council.
“I am incredibly proud of the work of myself, of my staff,” Tubbs said. “I’m the youngest ex-mayor in the history of this country.”
Thrust into the limelight at a young age, the Stockton native garnered the support of international icons and powerhouse politicians.
“I’ve been blessed to be supported from former teachers, basketball coaches, Oprah, President Obama, V.P.-elect Harris. I won’t apologize for being able to have networks,” Tubbs said.
His connections led to criticism that he lost touch with the city’s needs.
“After working at Google, the White House, I could have done a million other things after college. I decided to come back,” Tubbs said.
He says his loyalty and achievements are proof that he always put Stockton first.
“I’m leaving my position as the mayor with a $13 million surplus. Under my leadership, we’ve been called a city on the rise. There’s no way we could have accomplished that much if I wasn’t focused on the city,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs launched the country’s first guaranteed income programs last year with the help of private donations from Silicon Valley. The experimental program gave low-income recipients $500 a month with no strings attached. According to the first tracked spending data released by Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), 40% went to food, 25% to merchandise and 12% to pay utility bills.
Tubbs now leads the group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, which is made up of mayors in at least 25 cities who have pledged supports for guaranteed minimum income programs.
As Kevin Lincoln prepares to take over in Stockton, the sky is now the limit for Tubbs and Washington D.C. may be an option.
“I’m having a variety of conversations right now with a variety of people. I think it’ll be premature to reveal what I’m doing, if anything, until I know for sure. But I definitely think that will be an option,” Tubbs said.
But the outgoing mayor says no matter what’s next, not much will change.
“I’ll still be talking about basic income, I’ll still talk about reducing homicides, I’ll still be talking about higher education,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs wishes Lincoln luck as he takes on the role of Stockton’s mayor.