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    What the Mayor is doing for Stockton’s youth today: An interview with Mayor Kevin Lincoln

    Dana Sovinec
    John Paul Louie standing next to Mayor Kevin J Lincoln II.

    Kevin J. Lincoln II is the mayor of Stockton, elected in November of 2020, and has been presiding in his term since January of 2021. Mayor Lincoln was elected as a republican. His focuses on politics are to improve the overall quality of the city, especially involving some of the crisis here. Many young people still think that the mayor of Stockton is Michael Tubbs, who has moved on since late 2020. Some of his focuses are listed on his website, such as digital democracy and economic opportunity. He attends various events around the city, participating in community and youth outreach. I wanted to interview him to show what the mayor has been doing in recent years.

    I’ve actually met the mayor on one occasion beforehand. This was by chance of being invited to a luncheon by my aunt at China Palace for the Chinese Cultural Society of Stockton’s grant award ceremony. He gave a speech and was part of the ceremony, being the person handing the grants to the high school graduates. During the lunch, he sat with me, my aunt, and another member of CCSS, Harry Fong. They talked about the history of Chinese society in Stockton and how the city was in the past, as well as some light anecdotes. After the lunch, I had the opportunity to speak to the mayor. It was mainly about what my ideal thoughts for the city were as well as what his goals for the city and for the youth were, as he brought up what could make this city improve.

    Mayor Lincoln grew up with a single mother, graduating from high school and going into the Marines. Back then, he had to deal with the idea that “College may not be for everyone.” When he was growing up, there were fewer opportunities to get assistance to get into college, which is why he had to go into the United States Marine Corps in 2001. Mayor Lincoln was selected by the White House Military to go into Marine One while serving under George W. Bush. After serving in the military, he went to work eight years as a district manager for one of the country’s biggest security companies. He started from difficult circumstances to meeting and working for the president, proving that “If a third-generation Stocktonian can make it… you can too.” One of his biggest hopes for this town is for the youth to grow up and have a chance to make it in the world as well.

    Stockton did not have many options for the youth to put their energy toward anywhere beforehand. Mayor Lincoln wants to change that, especially in light of the fact that “A third of our population is under the age of 18.” For this reason, he has devoted lots of time to reaching out and advocating for youth programs. He has personally gone to over sixty schools and met thousands of youth in the area. So far, the city of Stockton has put aside over two million dollars for youth and young adult programs because the youth are “future voices” in the community.

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    The youth in Stockton need opportunities in their lives in order to make it in life, specifically job opportunities. Mayor Lincoln knows this as well and is trying to account for it by putting forward 4.3 million dollars toward a youth workforce organization. This allowed for over 300 jobs to have been made last summer, with applicants ranging from ages 16 to 19. He has also specifically acknowledged that Stockton needs to “Provide opportunity through education and career pathways.” If more jobs were available for the youth, they could have great opportunities and pathways to more wealth in the community. It would also allow them to have aspects of their life in Stockton to talk about when moving onto better things, like college.

    One of Mayor Lincoln’s bigger priorities in the city overall would be to increase safety all around Stockton. His plans involve outreach involving things like neighborhood watches in more areas, and business watches in areas that may have more robberies. In terms of safety for the youth, he believes that “school should be the safest place for us.” Everyone on campus should feel safe around their peers. Mayor Lincoln encourages the youth to call out what might be harmful to other people and make sure that they stick to their gut. He did mention catching the Stockton Serial Killer as part of the bigger improvements in Stockton’s safety. As time progresses, Mayor Lincoln hopes to see the feeling of safety increase around Stockton generally in order for the community to grow.

    When it comes to the overall growth of Stockton, Mayor Lincoln has seen a lot of it. He has been a part of overcoming some of the issues that Stockton has. Overall violent crime rates are lowering, firearms are being taken off the streets, and many families are gaining technology for those that need it. He has been part of providing many grants for a number of community building organizations to bring Stockton together. Mayor Lincoln was also part of helping to rebuild Downtown Stockton and beautify it in certain areas to drive up more business in these areas, and the money being put towards that is still being used to improve the look. He has also pushed for methods of having the public get better information on what he and his peers are doing in office so that nothing is going on behind the scenes. Mayor Lincoln also put work towards one of Stockton’s biggest issues.

    When I asked the mayor what he thought one of the biggest issues in Stockton was, I was astonished to hear him say “Homelessness is the number one issue in this community.” Mayor Lincoln has a lot of plans to help with this issue here, including putting more funding towards housing programs. He has also acknowledged a couple of other programs in specific that have partnered with the city to assist homelessness, like Saint Mary’s dining hall. There are different programs that are not mentioned but have partnered with the city to help stop homelessness. These programs try to stop different issues that cause homelessness or get homeless people off of the streets. Many Stocktonians do tell their issues with seeing people on the streets, sometimes interrupting parts of the community. Mayor Lincoln knows this because of how much of Stockton he sees and experiences. When it comes to homelessness, he is trying his hardest to get them off of the streets and into various programs that would assist them.

    During the interview, Mayor Lincoln left some very important advice that would serve well to the youth as they grow up. Three pieces of advice really stood out with how well they would apply now. He says that it’s easier to progress in life if you learn to “Partner with one another.” Joint work can make a significant difference when it comes to doing any task, even studying if both people know how to do it right. Mayor Lincoln also mentioned that “It’s important to find people you can mentor as well.” He brought up the youth being able to gain skills from mentors, but also skills that the youth can pass onto their peers as well being just as important. The most important piece that the youth can get from what he has said in the interview is most definitely that it’s “Good to grow your communication skills.” Communication skills are something that a person requires constantly in order to move forward, so it’s good and important to grow them as a teen to have them in the future.

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    About the Contributor
    John Paul George Louie Ortega-Rodriguez, also known as JP, is a junior who encourages unbiased truth in politics. He’s also interested in seeing growth in the community, as well as indulging in local events. Some of JP's greatest assets are his capacity for forward thinking and his drive to realize the future he wants to see for the world.

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      danielaSep 13, 2023 at 10:27 pm

      Learned a lot from this article JP. Very well written, write more !!!!