Kevin Lincoln: Mayor of Stockton, an All-American City

Last month I had the privilege of interviewing our very own mayor of Stockton, Mayor Kevin Lincoln! Throughout the interview, I learned a lot about our Mayor and his goals for the city. 


Who is Mayor Lincoln? 

“Looking back over my history, I have lived a life of service. I recognize that it’s not about me, but how I can use my experience, my background, too.”  Kevin Lincoln was born to be a leader, being the mayor of Stockton was the right opportunity for him to take all the life skills that he has learned and take the opportunity to use them to influence a change in the community.  Both his parents were seniors in high school when they had him.  He speaks about how his  grandfather immigrated to the United States when he was just sixteen years old. This family history led him to believe that through all his life experiences, he was born to be a leader and he made the decision to give back to his community. Mayor Lincoln knew that he would eventually try to take a leadership role in taking the reins for Stockton and help Stockton to be a better community.

Mayor Lincoln went to our very own Lincoln High School, but later transferred to Stockton Christian College to pursue a high school career in basketball.  After graduating, he became a  military officer who served under President George W. Bush.  Mayor Lincoln  got to travel to many different countries to protect the president.  After returning home, he got involved with nonprofits working to benefit our community.  Mayor Lincoln is a father of two, both who attend Bear Creek High School.  Family is very important to him. He tries his best to be involved with his kids and help them throughout their  life.  As a dad, Mayor Lincoln wants to be there especially for his kids especially during this time of life as the world grows crazier and crazier as the years pass.  

Mayor Lincoln has fallen in love with the city of Stockton.  He strongly believes that he represents all the people of Stockton, not just those that voted for him.  He works hard to strengthen our community.  Stockton is an incredibly diverse city.  In fact, Stockton is one of the most diverse cities in the United States.  We proudly hold that title!  Since Stockton was founded in 1850, the city has  grown in a short amount of time. One thing that the Mayor respects about Stockton is that there is always a “degree of separation” between people.  He believes that if we talk about our families or circles of friends long enough, we’re almost guaranteed to find someone that we both know in common.


What issues do you see present in our city?

We had the chance to talk about some of the big issues facing the city of Stockton, one of them being violence and safety. It has grown to give us a reputation as one of the most dangerous and filled with stereotypes that drive people from coming to our city.  He pointed out that the main reason why we are dealing with these kinds of problems is due to the shortage of police officers.  A problem that is nationwide as there are police shortages all around the United States.  In response to this, Stockton has been assigning and trying to make an effort in increasing the amount of peace officers to fill in the spots of police officers in Stockton, this will help maintain order in our city.  When asked if there was any way that our violence could decrease, Mayor Lincoln  said, “We have to take ownership of our city. We have to take ownership of our schools. We have to take ownership of our places of business.”  He believes that it takes our community and city to work together to help it  grow in trust.  Our community involvement allowed us to take on and arrest the Stockton serial killer. 

In our beautiful city of Stockton, another big problem that we face as a community is the homeless situation.  Our mayor points out that this is not only a Stockton problem, but something cities all around the country have been facing. One of the specific problems that we need to focus on is to make it easier to keep the homeless off the streets and into a safe place that will be able to keep them protected. There is a current plan set in place to construct a building that will have 320 “low barrier beds” to temporarily house as many homeless people as possible.  The homeless will be able to bring their possessions and will be able to keep some sort of privacy for themselves.  The Mayor reminds us that about two-thirds  of our homeless population are dealing with a mental illness and/or a substance addiction. In reaction to this, the city of Stockton has invested 5.7 million dollars into a fund to help those with mental issues, when confronting the homeless to use a mental health approach and not just using a police front to clear out homeless encampments.

What are the Mayor’s plans for our city? 

Stockton is considered a relatively young city in the United States.  The average age for someone in our city is around 39 years old.  We are still growing and building as a community, working to learn and understand one another and grow to accept each other.  

In Stockton about one-third of our population is 18 or younger.  This means that there is a new batch of teenagers and kids who are going to experience and hopefully change Stockton for the better.  The Mayor believes that we really need to focus on the kids,  to teach them how to learn to be good leaders, and learn how to make our city a better place.  In order to help our next generation of kids in Stockton, our youth needs to be exposed to different careers and pathways that will help them build a future and legacy that will help their family.  Recently, we have obtained 4.3 million dollars from the state of California to invest in a youth workforce development program in Stockton.  The mayor is very excited about the developments of The Rising Sun Organization and Greater Valley Conservation Corps. These programs teach teens or  young adults about education and work. 

The future of Stockton depends on our generation and the steps that we take to make our city a better place for the next generations!  Mayor Lincoln reminds us,  “One of you will be my mayor one day.” Our Mayor is excited to see what the future of Stockton holds and has many plans to grow and improve our community for all who live here.  “If we all help each other, we will improve our community and the city of Stockton together.” Thank you, Mayor Lincoln, for taking the time to invest in our school community and meeting with me and the Journalism class.

Mayor Lincoln and some of The Lincolnian writers