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Author, Stockton native Jason Lee ready to hit campaign trail for city council race

Stockton native Jason Lee ready to hit campaign trail for city council race
Stockton native Jason Lee ready to hit campaign trail for city council race 02:05

STOCKTON - The deadline to file paperwork to enter the District 6 council race in Stockton is this Friday. So far, four are in the race, including so-called culture critic blogger and author Jason Lee.

Lee is the executive producer of the hit podcast "Hollywood Unlocked." The south Stockton native spoke with CBS13 while on the road as he is prepping for his formal announcement and party next Monday.

"I just feel like every young person, every young 'Jason' [who has] decided they have a dream should have the opportunity to live that out," Lee said.

This south Stockton native and Stagg High School grad felt that after years in entertainment, the time was right to run for office.

"The greatest part about my story is I am not a career politician," Lee said. "I want to be the city council member for the district I grew up in – where my home is, where my family is – because that's where my heart lies."

His heart was broken at a young age when he lost his brother to gun violence before his success in Hollywood.

Lee took center stage in Northern California as a union organizer in the health care industry. Critics say Lee is an unconventional candidate with a lack of experience, but he said that hasn't stopped him before.

He says returning to his roots means making sure business returns.

"When you talk about development plans from developers on the north side of Stockton, there better be some benefit to the south side or some plan to expand to the disenfranchised," Lee said.

Incumbent Kimberly Warmsley has served on the city council for three years and on the Stockton Planning Commission before that.

"I have never left the community. I've been consistent not only in the political realm but also as an organizer and most importantly as a healer and therapist in the community as well," Warmsley said.   

Warmsley — vice mayor and a mother of five – touted her role in the development of the McKinley Park Pool, the new VA Medical Center and helping procure several million in subsidies for flood control.

She says one person alone can't change the city, and bringing in more jobs and development requires outside help.

"When a person is in this position such as a councilmember that you make relationships, not only on a local level but on some of the federal and state levels, there is a lot of balancing and a lot of collaboration," Warmsley said.

Lee said he would use his relationships and resources to bring business to the city. He would start with the Stockton Arena.

"It's an underutilized, overpaid facility that's been a stain on the taxpayer budget for years and I have outside people who would probably want to buy it and increase tourism and bring entertainment back to the city," he said.

Lee won't quit his day job but, if elected, will demand transparency, especially at council meetings.

"I'm going to be a very transparent person in how I do what I do. Some would say the city council will become a reality show. I don't know," he said.

So far, two other candidates have filed paperwork – Satnam Singh and Zoyla Moreno. Voters head to the poll on March 5, 2024.

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