(CALMATTERS) – Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs was named Newsom’s special advisor for economic mobility and opportunity on Thursday, an announcement that follows Tubbs’ surprise November defeat for a third term and comes as Newsom faces an almost-certain recall election. Tubbs, who’s received national recognition for launching a universal basic income program found to have measurably benefited Stockton residents, could lend some star power to the campaign to keep Newsom in office. Tubbs told me he turned down a position at the White House to join Newsom’s team — even though he won’t be paid.

Tubbs: “My vision for economic opportunity in the state is really grounded in what I learned when I was a student at Stanford, in that my colleagues at Stanford were smart, but they weren’t necessarily smarter than the people I grew up with in south Stockton. The biggest difference was differences in resources and opportunities.”

Tubbs told me he would “one million percent” push Newsom to consider implementing policies like the expanded child tax credit in the federal relief package that Biden signed Thursday. Tubbs listed his top priorities as addressing child poverty, incentivizing businesses to move to inland California and spurring economic recovery.

Daniel Zingale, Newsom’s former senior adviser for strategy and communications, told me: “In the State of the State, the governor said going back to normal isn’t good enough … By creating that position and putting Michael Tubbs in it, he’s showing that we have to do a better job around equity and lifting up the millions of Californians who have been left behind.”