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Recent college grad becomes youngest councilman in Stockton history

'We can change Stockton,' the Stanford graduate says. 'I never said I was going to do it by myself. But I can be the catalyst. I can bring ideas and the research. I have a sense of hope.'

November 08, 2012|By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
  • Michael Tubbs, 22, a recent Stanford graduate, proudly displays a photo of him visiting with Oprah Winfrey, who endorsed him.
Michael Tubbs, 22, a recent Stanford graduate, proudly displays a photo… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

FRESNO — Michael Tubbs, 22, a Stanford grad who began his Stockton City Council campaign while still in school, has won the seat, becoming the youngest council member in the city's history.

"In my victory speech I told them thanks to y'all, we beat the odds again. But now don't let me look bad to those people who said, 'How can he have the nerve to think a 22-year-old can change things?' " Tubbs said Wednesday morning.

Tubbs, who grew up on the south side of Stockton with a single mother and a father in prison, was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey — the only other candidates she ever endorsed were Barack Obama and Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J. Tubbs won 60% of a citywide vote.

In June, Stockton became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection. There have been 62 homicides this year, surpassing the city's record of 58 in 2011.

"We can change Stockton," Tubbs said. "I never said I was going to do it by myself. But I can be the catalyst. I can bring ideas and the research. I have a sense of hope."

Janet Gedigian, who has a daughter Tubbs' age, campaigned for him. He won her support by returning to Stockton.

"He had so many opportunities in front of him," she said. "But we need him here, and he came home."

diana.marcum@latimes.com

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