Michael Zucchet is one of those guys who listens more than he talks, and his calm and thoughtful demeanor has served him well at the poker table and at the negotiating table.
“I've never played poker with him, but I know him enough to know he's an understated, thoughtful guy, one of these guys who listens more than he talks, and I'm guessing that's how he plays poker,” said Dear San Diego co-host Tony Manolatos.
Zucchet oversees the City of San Diego’s largest labor union as General Manager of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association.
In addition to his day job, Michael is one of San Diego’s leading political minds, frequently called on for his strategic advice and recommendations. He’s also a fierce poker player, enjoying rare success in Vegas. Michael also serves as a San Diego Port Commissioner.
He’s married with two kids and he and his family reside in Ocean Beach. It’s his family life, he says, that’s the priority and it may not have been if his political career did not take an unexpected turn.
“So, Michael, you're a labor leader, port commissioner, former council member, former acting mayor, professional poker player, and family man. I'm sure I'm even missing a few other side occupations. I forgot grocery shopper.”
“Yeah. Professional grocery shopper. We can add that one to the list.”
“How do you balance all that with family life?”
“Well, I think, not to sound corny, but I appreciate everything you just said, except professional poker player. I'd say solidly amateur poker player. But the last thing, the family man, father, and husband has really been the priority. So when you set that priority the rest follows in.”
“Although I will say early in my life, in my professional life, when I got elected and had thoughts of rising up the ladder, and when you're on that hamster wheel, and had I stayed on that hamster wheel, it would have been, I think, very different and much harder to find that balance. The life I lead now, I definitely work hard at my day job, as Tony called it, and at my appointed job at the Port. But it's all very manageable and balanceable. Being an actual elected official in office is nuts, as you both know. So one of the blessings of not being in that business is being able to have that balance with family.”
Michael has seen a lot in and around City Hall over the years. He discusses local politics, poker, leadership, work-life balance, his wife and kids, and much more with Juan and Tony on the latest episode of Dear San Diego.