Kevin Stitt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kevin Stitt
Kevin Stitt 2020.jpg
28th Governor of Oklahoma
Assumed office
January 14, 2019
LieutenantMatt Pinnell
Preceded byMary Fallin
Personal details
Born
John Kevin Stitt

(1972-12-28) December 28, 1972 (age 47)
Milton, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Sarah Hazen
(
m. 1998)
[1]
Children6
ResidenceGovernor's Mansion
EducationOklahoma State University–Stillwater (BS)

John Kevin Stitt (born December 28, 1972)[2][3] is an American businessman and politician who has served as the governor of Oklahoma since January 2019. He founded and is a former chairman and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group. A Republican, he was elected governor in 2018. Stitt grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in accounting. He and his wife, Sarah, have six children. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Stitt is the second Native American to serve as governor of Oklahoma, after Johnston Murray.

Early life[edit]

Stitt was born in Milton, Florida, and spent his early years in Wayne, Oklahoma. He later moved to Norman, where his father was the pastor of Riverside Church. He graduated from Norman High School[4] and from Oklahoma State University with a degree in accounting. Stitt helped pay his way through college by selling educational products door-to-door with Southwestern Advantage. He was the first person in the company’s 115-year history to achieve the top sales as a first-year salesperson.[4] Stitt is a member of the Gamma Lambda chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Financial services career[edit]

Stitt worked in the financial services sector before starting Gateway in 2000.[5] He founded the company and was president and CEO until January 2014, when he became chairman-CEO. Stitt has said he started Gateway in 2000 with "$1,000 and a computer." His first obstacle was to get approved as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lender, for which the company needed a net worth of $50,000. To achieve that, Stitt put forward the equity in his home. In 2002, Gateway secured its first warehouse line, began obtaining licensing in states other than Oklahoma, and started recruiting loan officers. By 2006, it had over 400 employees.

In August 2018, Stitt stepped down as CEO and handed the reins to Stephen Curry,[6] while remaining chairman.[7] Gateway is a midsized company based in Jenks, Oklahoma. It employs more than 1,200 people and originates mortgages in 41 states.[8]

Gateway's legal issues[edit]

In 2009, Gateway was listed in a Business Insider article as one of the 15 shadiest lenders in the government-backed mortgage industry.[9][10] According to the article, the company originated nearly twice as many bad mortgages as its competitors.[10] An August 19, 2018, Oklahoman newspaper article highlighted the Business Insider article's inaccuracies, reporting that "in the Illinois case, a consent order states that the Illinois banking agency investigated a Gateway loan originator for an 'alleged real estate, appraisal, and mortgage fraud scheme.' Gateway fired the employee, asked for a hearing and then agreed to what investigators found. Gateway agreed to a $10,000 fine. ... Stitt campaign spokeswoman Donelle Harder said the license in Illinois was never revoked. The state agreed after the appeal not to revoke the license, she said."[11]

NEWS9 also said that according to Georgia's Department of Banking and Finance, Stitt was banned for five years and the company was banned for life from origination mortgages in Georgia.[12] According to the Oklahoman, a Gateway corporate attorney said there were misrepresentations and insufficient background checks by employees in the Georgia office but Stitt was not involved. The employees were fired and Gateway paid a $2,000 fine. The state overturned the lifetime ban on Gateway, effective November 2017. Gateway is able to do business in all 50 states.[11]

During Stitt's gubernatorial campaign, Oklahoma Watch reported that Wisconsin regulators fined Gateway for a "clerical error" regarding its history with regulators from other states. Gateway corrected the application and was issued a license in 2009. It remains in good standing in Wisconsin.[13]

2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaign[edit]

In July 2017, Stitt announced his candidacy[14][15][16][17] for the Republican nomination[18][19] for governor in 2018.[20][21] Facing nine other candidates in the primary election, he ran a statewide campaign with stops in nearly every city and town. He finished second, defeating, among others, Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb.[22][23] In the August 28 primary runoff, Stitt defeated Mick Cornett, a former mayor of Oklahoma City.[24] In the November general election, Stitt defeated the Democratic nominee, former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, and Libertarian Chris Powell .[25]

In the GOP runoff, a trio of conservative leaders, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz[26] and former U.S. Senators Rick Santorum[27] and Tom Coburn, endorsed Stitt.[28] In the general election, Stitt was endorsed by former primary rival Mick Cornett,[29] the incumbent governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin,[30] and President Donald Trump.[31] The Oklahoman reported that the Stitt campaign rejected Fallin's endorsement: "'We did not seek [Fallin's endorsement], and Kevin Stitt has run on a campaign message that he will do things a lot differently,' said Donelle Harder, spokeswoman for the Stitt campaign. 'He is focused on changing the structure of state government and cleaning up the mess we are currently in at the Capitol.'"[29]

During his campaign, Stitt called himself "the only job creator with proven business experience" running for governor[32] and emphasized his business background.[33] He called on the state to become "top 10 in job growth, top 10 in education and top 10 in infrastructure."[34]

During the general election, the close race drew increased attention from national media and political figures.[35] Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Stitt.[36][37][38]

Governor of Oklahoma[edit]

Stitt (left) attending a White House conference in December 2018, seated next to Governor-elect Brad Little of Idaho.

Transition[edit]

After the election, transition activities began as Stitt prepared to assume office.[39]

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced that Stitt would occupy temporary office space in the Capitol, which was under renovation, and not occupy the Governor's Office until early 2020 due to the restoration project. Stitt also announced that he would not immediately move his family into the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City, instead remaining in Jenks until summer 2019 to allow his daughter to graduate from high school.[39]

Inauguration[edit]

Stitt was inaugurated on January 14, 2019, at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Chief Justice of Oklahoma Noma Gurich swore him and Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell into office. Stitt then gave a 15-minute inaugural address.[40]

Administration personnel[edit]

Cabinet positions[edit]

The Cabinet of Governor Kevin Stitt
(2019–present)
Office Name Term
Governor Kevin Stitt 2019–present
Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell 2019–present
Chief Operating Officer/Secretary of Agency Accountability John Budd 2019–present
Secretary of State Michael Rogers 2019–present
Secretary of Energy and Environment Kenneth Wagner 2019–present
Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur 2019–present
Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz 2019–present
Secretary of Public Safety Chip Keating 2019–present
Secretary of the Budget Mike Mazzei 2019–present
Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen 2019–present
Secretary of Tourism and Branding Matt Pinnell 2019–present
Secretary of Health and Mental Health Jerome Loughridge 2019–present
Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives Steve Buck 2019-2020
Justin Brown 2020–present
Secretary of Science and Innovation Kayse Shrum 2019–present
Secretary of Native American Affairs Lisa Johnson Billy 2019
Vacant 2019–present
Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe 2019–present
Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Military Ben Robinson 2019–present
Chief of Staff Michael Junk 2019–present
General Counsel Mark Burget 2019–present
Adjutant General Michael C. Thompson 2019–present

Before taking office, Stitt nominated former state Representative Michael Rogers as his Secretary of State and Tulsa Deputy Mayor Michael Junk (a former advisor to U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn)[41] as his chief of staff.[42] He nominated Kenneth Wagner (a former senior advisor to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt) to serve as Secretary of Energy and Environment[43] and Blayne Arthur (a former deputy secretary for the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry) as Secretary of Agriculture.[44] Stitt retained several Fallin administration officials, including Major General Michael C. Thompson as Adjutant General and Rusty Rhoades as Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.[45] In December 2018, Stitt announced that he would restructure the cabinet, eliminating the Secretary of Finance position and replacing it with three new positions splitting the former duties of the office: a Secretary of Budget, a Secretary of Agency Accountability, and a Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration. Stitt nominated former longtime State Senator Mike Mazzei as Budget Secretary.[46]

In January 2019, Stitt nominated Tulsa banker Sean Kouplen as Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development,[47] executive director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Tim Gatz[48] as Secretary of Transportation, and David Ostrowe as Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration.[49] He appointed Pinnell as his Secretary of Tourism and Branding, overseeing the Department of Tourism and Recreation, and as senior advisor for the Commerce Department overseeing investment into Oklahoma's federally approved opportunity zones.[50] Stitt also named former Oklahoma State Representative Lisa Johnson Billy, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, to the new position of Secretary of Native American Affairs, serving as the liaison between the Stitt administration and Oklahoma's 38 federally recognized Indian tribes.[51] He chose John Budd, a former Boston Consulting Group partner and corporate executive at Sonic Drive-In, to serve as the Oklahoma's first Chief Operating Officer.[52]

In February 2019, Stitt appointed former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Chip Keating, the son of former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, as his Oklahoma Secretary of Public Safety.[53] Stitt retained Fallin's Director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs, Steven Buck, as his Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Development.[54] Brian Brurud, a former United States Navy fighter pilot, was named Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but in March 2019 Brurud faced an accusation of violating federal labor law by underpaying veterans at his company[55] and withdrew his name from consideration.[56] In April 2019 Stitt picked former United States Air Force Brigadier General Ben Robinson for the post.[57] He appointed energy executive Jerome Loughridge as Secretary of Health and Mental Health and Kayse Shrum, president of the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, as Secretary of Science and Technology in March 2019.[58]

On December 23, 2019, citing disagreements with Stitt over his handling of negotiations with the state's various Indian tribes about gambling compacts, Billy became the first member of the Stitt's cabinet to resign. A member of the Chickasaw Nation and former Republican state representative, Billy viewed Stitt's negotiation position as one of "unnecessary conflict."[59]

On February 13, 2020, Buck announced his intention to step down from his position in order to become the head of trade association representing long-term care health providers.[60] Buck, who served concurrently as executive director of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs, first became OJA head in 2016 after service at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services before Fallin promoted him to her cabinet in 2017.[61]

Cabinet confirmation process[edit]

Position Name Announcement Senate Committee Full Senate
vote date
Confirmation vote
(Yes-No-Absent)
Ref
Secretary of State Mike Rogers November 27, 2018 General Government April 23, 2019 44-0-4 [2]
Secretary of Education January 24, 2019 [3]
Secretary of Energy and Environment Kenneth E. Wagner November 28, 2018 Energy May 1, 2019 41-0-7 [4]
Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur December 13, 2018 Agriculture and Wildlife February 26, 2019 43-0-5 [5]
Adjutant General Michael C. Thompson December 14, 2018 Veterans Affairs and Military May 13, 2019 45-1-2 [6]
Secretary of the Budget Mike Mazzei December 20, 2018 Appropriations May 15, 2019 47-1-0 [7]
Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean P. Kouplen January 3, 2019 Business, Commerce, and Tourism April 16, 2019 43-0-5 [8]
Secretary of Agency Accountability John Budd January 7, 2019 General Government April 23, 2019 44-0-4 [9]
Secretary of Tourism and Branding Matt Pinnell January 17, 2019 Business, Commerce, and Tourism April 23, 2019 46-0-2 [10]
Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe January 18, 2019 General Government April 23, 2019 44-0-4 [11]
Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz January 18, 2019 Transportation April 23, 2019 45-0-3 [12]
Secretary of Native American Affairs Lisa Johnson Billy January 30, 2019 General Government April 23, 2019 44-0-4 [13]
Secretary of Human Services Steven Buck February 14, 2019 Health and Human Services May 8, 2019 46-0-2 [14]
Secretary of Public Safety Chip Keating February 21, 2019 Public Safety April 24, 2019 42-0-6 [15]
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Brian Brurud February 21, 2019 Nomination withdrawn March 18, 2019 [16]
Ben Robinson April 15, 2019 Veterans Affairs and Military May 13, 2019 46-0-2 [17]
Secretary of Science and Innovation Kayse Shrum March 14, 2019 Education May 2, 2019 44-0-4 [18]
Secretary of Health Jerome Loughridge March 14, 2019 Health and Human Services May 8, 2019 47-0-1 [19]

Sub-Cabinet officials[edit]

Office Agency Name Announcement Senate Committee Full Senate
vote date
Confirmation vote
(Yes-No-Absent)
Ref
Commissioner Department of Agriculture Blayne Arthur December 13, 2018 Agriculture and Wildlife February 26, 2019 43-0-5 [20]
Director Department of Commerce Brent Kisling January 3, 2019 Business, Commerce, and Tourism April 16, 2019 43-0-5 [21]
Director Office of Management and Enterprise Services John Budd January 7, 2019 General Government April 23, 2019 46-0-2 [22]
Steven Harpe January 23, 2020 Senate confirmation pending [23]
Commissioner Department of Health Tom Bates January 14, 2019 Interim basis [24]
Gary Cox September 12, 2019 Senate confirmation pending [25]
State Chief Information Officer Office of Management and Enterprise Services Bo Reese January 14, 2019 Senate confirmation not required [26]
Donald Moore February 13, 2020 Senate confirmation not required [27]
Executive Director Department of Veteran Affairs Doug Elliot January 14, 2019 Senate confirmation not required
Joel Kintsel September 6, 2019 Senate confirmation not required [28]
Executive Director Turnpike Authority Tim Gatz January 14, 2019 Senate confirmation not required
Commissioner Department of Mental Health Terri White January 14, 2019 Senate confirmation not required
Carrie Slatton-Hodges February 1, 2020 Interim basis
Director of Homeland Security Department of Public Safety Kim E. Carter January 15, 2019 Senate confirmation not required [29]
Director Department of Emergency Management Mark Gower January 29, 2019 Public Safety April 24, 2019 42-0-6 [30]
Commissioner Department of Public Safety Rusty Rhoades February 22, 2019 Public Safety April 24, 2019 42-0-6 [31]
John Scully September 2, 2019 Senate confirmation pending [32]
Director Department of Tourism and Recreation Jerry Winchester April 2, 2019 Business, Commerce, and Tourism May 7, 2019 45-0-3 [33]
Director Department of Transportation Tim Gatz May 1, 2019 Transportation May 13, 2019 48-0-0 [34]
Director Office of Juvenile Affairs Steven Buck May 1, 2019 Health and Human Services May 15, 2019 47-0-1 [35]
Director Department of Human Services Justin Brown June 4, 2019 Senate confirmation pending [36]
Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Department of Corrections Tricia Everest June 13, 2019 Senate confirmation not required [37]
Director Department of Corrections Scott Crow June 14, 2019[62] Senate confirmation pending [38]
Deputy Secretary of Health Health Care Authority Carter Kimble June 21, 2019 Senate confirmation not required [39]
Secretary General Land Office A. Brandt Vawter July 8, 2019 Interim basis [40]
Director Health Care Authority Kevin Corbett August 5, 2019 Senate confirmation pending [41]
Director of Workforce Development Department of Commerce Don Morris August 12, 2019 Senate confirmation not required [42]
Commissioner State Banking Department Mick Thompson December 10, 2019[63] Senate confirmation pending [43]
Chief of the Highway Patrol Department of Public Safety Michael Harrell January 14, 2019[64] Senate confirmation not required
Brent Sugg September 11, 2019 Senate confirmation not required [44]
Director State Bureau of Investigastion Ricky G. Adams January 14, 2019[65] Senate confirmation not required

Legislative action[edit]

Budget and spending[edit]

Stitt and the legislature approved the 2020 Oklahoma state budget in May 2019. After years of cuts under the Fallin administration, the budget provided for 5% in additional spending among state agencies over 2019 levels without increasing taxes. Particular areas of increased spending include a teacher pay raise of $1,220, a state employee pay raise of $1,400, authorization of two new trooper academies for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to hire 80 additional state troopers, a 14% pay raise for correctional officers with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the largest investment in the state's Quick Action Closing Fund for job recruitment in state history, increased spending for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and increased provider rates for physicians, hospitals, and nursing homes from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. In addition to the increased spending, Stitt demanded depositing $200 million into the state's reverse fund, increasing its balance to $1 billion.[66]

Capital punishment[edit]

Oklahoma has a long history with capital punishment, having conducted the third-most executions since the death penalty was reinstated in Gregg v. Georgia (1976).[67] But in 2015, a moratorium was placed on all state executions following the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April 2014 and the execution of Charles Warner by unauthorized methods in January 2015.[68] A state criminal grand jury concluded in 2016 that state corrections officials failed to follow the law in Warner's execution and should have exercised greater caution given the backdrop of Lockett's execution.[69] In 2018, Oklahoma Attorney General Michael J. Hunter announced the state would seek to use inert gas asphyxiation by nitrogen for execution if suitable drugs for lethal injection were not found once the moratorium was lifted.[70]

On February 13, 2020, Stitt, Hunter and Corrections Director Scott Crow announced that the moratorium would be lifted.[71] Citing a reliable source of necessary drugs, Oklahoma would again use lethal injection as its primary means of execution. Hunter announced that executions would be scheduled for Oklahoma's 48 death row inmates following the exhaustion of their appeal rights.

Criminal justice reform[edit]

Beginning with the adoption of State Question 780 by Oklahoma voters in 2016, advocates for criminal justice reform sought additional measures. SQ780, which changed the classification of simple drug possession crimes from felony to misdemeanor and increased the cap for property crimes to be considered felonies, had already reduced the rate of felony prosecution statewide by 26% by 2018.[72] In May 2019, Stitt proposed several ideas, including making SQ780's sentencing standards retroactive, prohibiting criminal records from being considered for professional licensing, and restructuring the funding scheme for the various district attorney offices.[73] The legislature made SQ780 retroactive by allowing parole for those convicted before SQ780 became effective and reforming professional licensing,[74] but did not approve bills to reform Oklahoma's cash bail system.[75] In response to legislative defeats, Stitt issued an executive order to form a study group to make recommendations for future criminal justice reform for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, with particular emphasis on reducing Oklahoma’s incarceration rate.[76]

Drug policy[edit]

In mid-2018, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788, which legalized the licensed use, sale, and growth of marijuana for medical purposes. As a candidate, Stitt cited a need to implement the results of the election by enacting a comprehensive regulatory scheme.[77] After months of negotiation with legislative leaders, Stitt signed HB2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act. Also known as the "Marijuana Unity Bill", HB2612 provided an extensive medical marijuana framework, including licensing requirements and rights for patients.[78]

Government reform[edit]

In his first state of the state address, Stitt called for increased appointment power over major state agencies. The legislature granted his request by adopting five new laws, giving him direct control over the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs, and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.[79] These agencies were previously under the control of multi-member boards or commissions that acted independently of the governor.

In exchange for additional appointment powers and at legislative leaders' request, Stitt signed into law SB1, which established the Oklahoma Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency in the legislative branch. Under the direction of an oversight committee composed of members of the State Senate and House of Representatives, the office will provide auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the legislature relating to the governor's proposed budget and expenditures by the executive branch.[80]

Gun rights[edit]

The first law Stitt signed after taking office was HB2597, colloquially called "Constitutional Carry". Effective November 1, 2019, the law permitted anyone 21 or older, or 18 if a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, to carry a firearm without obtaining a permit or completing training.[81] The firearm may be concealed or unconcealed, loaded or unloaded. Stitt also signed HB2010, which expands the places a firearm may be carried to include municipal zoos and parks, regardless of size, as long as it is concealed.[82]

Healthcare[edit]

In 2010, the federal government adopted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under pre-ACA levels, Oklahoma covered non-disabled adults without children with incomes at or below approximately 37% of the federal poverty level (FPL).[83] The ACA mandated that Oklahoma expand its Medicaid program, known as SoonerCare and administered by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, to cover nearly all adults earning up to 138% of the FPL. But in 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v. Sebelius that the mandate was unconstitutional, allowing Oklahoma to continue at its pre-ACA eligibility levels. Following the decision, Governor Fallin rejected the option to expand.[84] After taking office, Stitt continued Oklahoma's opposition to expansion.[85] His refusal to expand the program resulted in the filing of an citizens' initiative petition, State Question 802, to enact the expansion into the state constitution notwithstanding Stitt's opposition.

In response to the petition, in January 2020 Stitt unveiled his own proposal to expand the program, "SoonerCare 2.0". With the Trump Administration's blessing, Stitt's proposal would transform the Medicaid program from a formula grant to a block grant.[86] Key elements of Stitt's plan include introducing work-related requirements for recipients, requiring them to pay some form of monthly premiums, and transition from a fee-for-service model to a managed-care model.

Judicial reform[edit]

Stitt signed legislation reorganizing the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. Prior to the reforms, Supreme Court justices were appointed from nine separate districts representing various collections of counties. Under the legislation, as of 2020 the Court's nine judicial districts were redrawn such that five were made coequal with the state's five congressional districts and the other four are at large with the state as whole.[87] Similarly, the five judicial districts used to appoint judges to the Court of Criminal Appeals were made coequal with the congressional districts. The legislation left the method for appointing appellate judges via the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission unchanged. The reform's ostensible purpose was to increase the pool of applicants to the appellate courts.

Tribal relations[edit]

Under the authority of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, in 2004 Oklahoma voters approved State Question 712, which adopted the Oklahoma State-Tribal Gaming Act. Under the Act, the State of Oklahoma offers each federally recognized Indian tribe the right to conduct commercial gambling within its territory upon accepting the terms of a uniform state-tribal gaming compact. The compact allowed the compacting tribes to conduct gaming in return for "exclusivity fees" to the state treasury averaging 6% of gaming revenues.[88] The compact was scheduled to expire on January 1, 2020.

In a July 2019 op-ed in the Tulsa World followed by a letter to the chiefs of 35 Oklahoma tribes, Stitt called on tribal leaders to renegotiate the terms of the compact before its expiration date.[89] In particular, he called for increasing the exclusivity fees to between 13% and 25%.[90] Stitt's office maintains the compact is not subject to automatic renewal, a claim the tribes reject, believing it will continue indefinitely unless changes are mutually agreed upon.[91][92] In either event, the Oklahoma Legislature would presumably have to be involved in any renegotiation, since the state's compact offer is defined and controlled by state statute, and federal law requires any new or altered compact terms to be approved by the United States Department of the Interior.[93]

In August 2019, the various tribes refused to meet with Stitt to negotiate the amount of the exclusivity fees until he conceded that the compact would otherwise automatically renew.[94] Stitt had proposed a September 3 date to begin discussions but the tribes rejected it.

At the end of December 2019, the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw tribes filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to end the dispute over the compact.[95] On December 31, Stitt signed an extension to the hunting and fishing license compact with the Choctaw Nation, a previous point of contention.[96]

Other positions[edit]

Stitt received a 100% score from the pro-life advocacy group Oklahomans for Life.[97]

During his campaign for governor, Stitt said that he would defend Oklahomans' constitutional right to bear arms, writing: "I don't believe in punishing law-abiding gun owners for the atrocious and illegal actions of an individual.[98]

Response to coronavirus outbreak[edit]

In March 2020, Stitt went out to restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic and posted a photo on Twitter of him doing so with his two children.[99][100] He later deleted the tweet, and his spokesperson said, "the governor will continue to take his family out to dinner and to the grocery store without living in fear and encourages Oklahomans to do the same."[101] President Trump said he did not advocate going out to eat but did not criticize Stitt.[102] In the tweet, Stitt wrote, "Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans ... It's packed tonight!" The photograph he posted with his kids showed them smiling while surrounded by restaurant patrons.[103] On June 20, Stitt attended the Trump rally in Tulsa, and was seen without wearing a mask.[104] On July 15, Stitt announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19.[105] He is the first United States governor diagnosed with COVID-19.[106]

Judicial appointments[edit]

The governor of Oklahoma is responsible for making appointments to Oklahoma state courts upon a vacancy. Candidates for appointment are reviewed by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission, which forwards three names to the governor. The governor appoints one of the three without further confirmation.

Appellate courts[edit]

# Judge Position Court District Former Judge Appointment date End of service Successor Judge Ref.
1 M. John Kane IV Justice Supreme Court 1st John F. Reif September 17, 2019 Incumbent Incumbent [45]
2 Dustin Rowe Justice Supreme Court 2nd Patrick Wyrick November 18, 2019 Incumbent Incumbent [46]
3 TBD Judge Civil Appeals 1st Jerry L. Goodman TBD
4 TBD Judge Civil Appeals 4st Larry Joplin TBD

Trial courts[edit]

# Judge Position County District Former Judge Appointment date End of service Successor Judge Ref.
1 Christine Larson Associate District Judge Cimarron 1st Ronald L. Kincannon March 8, 2019 Incumbent Incumbent [47]
2 Timothy King District Judge Muskogee 15th Mike Norman November 4, 2019 Incumbent Incumbent [48]
3 Laura Farris Associate District Judge Creek 24th Mark Ihrig January 17, 2020 Incumbent Incumbent [49]
4 Stinson Shelia District Judge Oklahoma 7th Lisa Davis July 17, 2020 Incumbent Incumbent [50]
5 TBD Associate District Judge Woodward 4th Don Work TBD
6 TBD Judge Workers Compensation Court N/A TBD
7 TBD District Judge Osage 10th M. John Kane IV TBD
8 TBD District Judge Tulsa 14th TBD
9 TBD District Judge Tulsa 14th TBD
10 TBD Associate District Judge Cleveland 21th Bonner Stephen W. TBD

Personal life[edit]

Stitt is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation as a descendant of his great-grandfather, Robert Benton Dawson. Dawson was given land in the Skiatook area because of his tribal citizenship, and the land is still in the family, now owned by an uncle of Stitt's.[4] Stitt's maternal grandparents were dairy farmers in Skiatook. His paternal grandfather was the head veterinarian at the Oklahoma City Stockyards.[107]

Stitt married Sarah Hazen in 1998 and they have six children. The Stitts are active in their church in Tulsa, Woodlake Church.[108]

Electoral history[edit]

June 26, 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary[109]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mick Cornett 132,806 29.3
Republican Kevin Stitt 110,479 24.4
Republican Todd Lamb 107,985 23.9
Republican Dan Fisher 35,818 7.9
Republican Gary Jones 25,243 5.6
Republican Gary Richardson 18,185 4.0
Republican Blake Stephens 12,211 2.7
Republican Christopher Barnett 5,240 1.2
Republican Barry Gowdy 2,347 0.5
Republican Eric Foutch 2,292 0.5
Total votes 452,606 100.0
August 28, 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary runoff[110]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Stitt 164,892 54.56
Republican Mick Cornett 137,316 45.44
Total votes 302,208 100.0
2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Stitt 644,579 54.33%
Democratic Drew Edmondson 500,973 42.23%
Libertarian Chris Powell 40,833 3.44%
Total votes 1,186,385 100.0%
Republican hold

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://twitter.com/GovStitt/status/1134874094581821440
  2. ^ Krehbiel, Randy. "Businessman Kevin Stitt trying to close the deal on Republican gubernatorial nomination". Tulsa World. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "Candidate Profile: Kevin Stitt (R-OK)". United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c ""Serious kid" sets sights on serving as chief executive of Oklahoma". NewsOK.com. September 30, 2018. Archived from the original on November 26, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  5. ^ MortgageOrb, Zackin Publications Inc., July 25, 2018, Patrick Barnard, Kevin Stitt: The Proactive Approach to Compliance Always WinsArchived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Gateway Mortgage Group Announces New CEO, Kevin Stitt, chairman and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC, DSNews.com copyright 2018 is a registered trademark of The Five Star Institute, https://dsnews.com/headline/08-03-2018/gateway-hires-ceo
  7. ^ "Kevin Stitt Profile". www.bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Company Overview of Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  9. ^ The 15 Shadiest Mortgage Lenders Being Backed By The Government, Vincent Fernando, December 11, 2009Archived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b KWTV/News 9, Oklahoma, June 19, 2018Archived October 18, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ a b ""A Look At Cornett's Past Comments" Oklahoman, August 19, 2018". Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  12. ^ Department of Banking and Finance Enters into a Consent Order with Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC and its President, John Kevin Stitt, December 1, 2009, https://dbf.georgia.gov/press-releases/2009-12-01/department-banking-and-finance-enters-consent-order-gateway-mortgage-group Archived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Stitt's Mortgage Firm Failed to Tell Regulators of Past Problems". Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Kevin Stitt to run for governor, Tulsa Beacon, "Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt announced his candidacy for governor in 2018. The first-time candidate
  15. ^ Real Clear Politics, By Erick Erickson, August 24, 2018, Collapse of the Career Politicians, "The prevailing consensus among political analysts in the United States about..." Archived 2018-08-25 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Pro-life advocate is the founder and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group (GMG).", https://tulsabeacon.com/kevin-stitt-to-run-for-governor/ Archived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ U.S. News & World Report, Mortgage Company Head Wins GOP Primary for Oklahoma Governor, "Tulsa mortgage company owner and political newcomer Kevin Stitt won the Republican nomination in the race to become Oklahoma's next governor.", August 28, 2018,
  18. ^ Washington Post, June 27, 2018, by Terri Rupar, "Lieutenant governor concedes in GOP gubernatorial race in Oklahoma; runoff set" Archived January 7, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ EndPlay (August 29, 2018). "You Decide 2018: Kevin Stitt wins Oklahoma gubernatorial GOP runoff race". KOKI. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  20. ^ The Hill, 08/30/18, Max Greenwood, Trump endorses Kevin Stitt in Oklahoma governor's race, Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc., https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/404429-trump-endorses-kevin-stitt-in-oklahoma-governors-race Archived October 16, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Miles, Frank (August 28, 2018). "Tulsa businessman, political novice Kevin Stitt wins GOP primary for Oklahoma governor". Fox News. Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  22. ^ KFOR, August 29, 2018, Kevin Stitt, Drew Edmondson, Chris Powell to face off in November as gubernatorial candidates
  23. ^ KXII. "Kevin Stitt wins GOP nod for Oklahoma governor". www.kxii.com. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  24. ^ "You Decide 2018: Kevin Stitt wins Oklahoma gubernatorial GOP runoff race". August 29, 2018. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  25. ^ "Kevin Stitt". Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  26. ^ "Senator Ted Cruz endorses Kevin Stitt for governor". August 22, 2018. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  27. ^ "Rick Santorum Endorsement". August 6, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  28. ^ "Tom Coburn endorses Stitt for governor". August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  29. ^ a b Stitt welcomes Cornett's endorsement but not Fallin's Oklahoman, October 11, 2018 https://newsok.com/article/5611359/stitt-welcomes-cornetts-endorsement-but-not-fallins Archived October 11, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "Gov. Mary Fallin Endorses Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Kevin Stitt". www.news9.com. Archived from the original on January 15, 2019. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  31. ^ "Trump endorses Kevin Stitt in Oklahoma governor's race". August 30, 2018. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  32. ^ "Quick 5: GOP gubernatorial candidate stakes out positions". Muskogee Phoenix. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  33. ^ World, Randy Krehbiel Tulsa. "Republican candidate for governor Kevin Stitt says Oklahoma could be a 'top 10 state'". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  34. ^ KAYLEIGH THESENVITZ. "STITT: Oklahoma could be a top 10 state". Claremore Daily Progress. Archived from the original on October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  35. ^ The Journal Record, (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP), Pence campaigns for Stitt in Tulsa, Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally for gubernatorial candidate Kevin Stitt at the Mabee Center in Tulsa on Thursday. With the general election less than three weeks away, Kevin Stitt is trying to get by with a little help from his friends.
  36. ^ U.S. News & World Report, October 18, 2018, VP Mike Pence Campaigns for GOP's Kevin Stitt for Governor "Vice President Mike Pence headlined a campaign rally for Republican Kevin Stitt as they worked to keep the Oklahoma governor's office in GOP hands."
  37. ^ Tulsa World: Kevin Stitt, A Better Agent of Change, The Okie on October 22, 2018 Archived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ AP News, August 28, 2018, The Latest: Oklahoma attorney general race too close to call Archived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ a b Hoberock, Barbara (November 12, 2018). "Transition to governor for Kevin Stitt began immediately after election ended". Tulsa World.
  40. ^ Felder, Ben (January 14, 2019). "Stitt takes office, promises new state pride". The Daily Oklahoman. Archived from the original on January 14, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  41. ^ https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/people-to-watch-as-chief-of-staff-michael-junk-s/article_7e90aeef-4f93-5f66-96a0-1079e63b5377.html
  42. ^ Hoberock, Barbara (November 27, 2018). "Tulsa Deputy Mayor Michael Junk picked to be Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt's chief of staff". Tulsa World.
  43. ^ Sweeney, Catherine (November 28, 2018). "Stitt picks EPA adviser for secretary of energy and environment". The Journal Record. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  44. ^ Brus, Brian (December 13, 2018). "Stitt picks Bayne Athur for Secretary of Agriculture". The Journal Record. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  45. ^ Associated Press (December 14, 2018). "Stitt reappoints 2 Fallin picks". The Journal Record. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  46. ^ Sweeney, Catherine (December 21, 2018). "Stitt reworking Cabinet to focus on finances". The Journal Record. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  47. ^ Hoberock, Barbara (January 6, 2019). "Stitt appoints Tulsa banker Sean Kouplen as commerce secretary". Tulsa World.
  48. ^ "State transportation commission names Tim Gatz executive director of ODOT". Tulsa World. February 11, 2019.
  49. ^ Office of Governor Stitt (January 18, 2019). "Governor Kevin Stitt announces Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration". Office of Governor Stitt.
  50. ^ "Governor Kevin Stitt appoints Lt. Gov. Pinnell to Cabinet as Secretary of Tourism and Branding". Office of Governor Stitt. January 17, 2019.
  51. ^ "Stitt announces secretary of Native American affairs". The Daily Oklahoman. January 31, 2019.
  52. ^ "Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt names Sonic executive to new Cabinet spot". Tulsa World. January 7, 2019.
  53. ^ "Stitt tapes two more for cabinet posts". Tulsa World. February 21, 2019.
  54. ^ "Gov. Stitt names Steven Buck human services secretary". Tulsa World. February 14, 2019.
  55. ^ "Stitt's pick for veterans secretary accused of underpaying veterans". Enid News & Eagle. March 4, 2019.
  56. ^ "Stitt nominee for Veterans Secretary withdraws". The Daily Oklahoman. March 17, 2019.
  57. ^ "Stitt picks retired Air Force general for cabinet post". The Daily Oklahoman. April 15, 2019.
  58. ^ "Governor Kevin Stitt announces Two Additional Cabinet Secretaries". Office of Governor Stitt. March 14, 2019.
  59. ^ Tres Savage (December 23, 2019). "Lisa Billy resigns as Gov. Stitt's secretary of Native American affairs". NonDoc Media.
  60. ^ Press Release (February 13, 2020). "Steven Buck Steps Down as OJA Executive Director, Cabinet Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives". Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs.
  61. ^ Tres Savage (February 13, 2020). "Steve Buck resigning from Office of Juvenile Affairs". NonDoc Media.
  62. ^ Corrections Director Scott Crow was named interim director on June 14, 2019 and nominated to the permanent post on December 6, 2019. [1]
  63. ^ State Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson was initially appointed in 1992 by Governor David Walters. He was subsequently reappointed in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020.
  64. ^ OHP Chief Michael Harrell was initially appointed in 2017 under Governor Mary Fallin. He was subsequently retained by Stitt.
  65. ^ OSBI Ricky Adams was initially appointed in 2018 under Governor Mary Fallin. He was subsequently retained by Stitt.
  66. ^ Office of Governor Stitt (May 15, 2019). "Governor Stitt announces FY 202 Budget Deal with House and Senate Leadership".
  67. ^ Executions in the United States, by state
  68. ^ Associated Press (February 13, 2020). "Oklahoma set to resume executions years after death-chamber mishaps". NBC News.
  69. ^ Samantha Vicent (May 20, 2016). "Grand jury concluses investigation into Oklahoma executions". Tulsa World.
  70. ^ Tres Savage (March 20, 2018). "Oklahoma to pursue executions that 'nobody has attempted'". NonDoc Media.
  71. ^ Matt Patterson (February 13, 2020). "Lethal announcement: Oklahoma to resume executions this year". NonDoc Media.
  72. ^ Gentzler, Ryan (February 19, 2018). "SQ 780 is already reshaping Oklahoma's justice system".
  73. ^ Haberock, Barbara (May 2, 2018). "Gov. Kevin Stitt rolls out new criminal justice reform package".
  74. ^ Monies, Paul (April 29, 2019). "Oklahoma Watch: 5 questions answered on this year's criminal justice reform bills".
  75. ^ Chandler, Quinton (May 30, 2019). "Legislators leave criminal justice reform bills on the table as prison population grows".
  76. ^ Office of Governor Stitt (May 20, 2019). "Governor Stitt issues Executive order to Create RESTORE Task Force".
  77. ^ Skarky, Brent (July 26, 2018). "Gubernatorial candidates weigh in on medical marijuana debate".
  78. ^ Hoberock, Barbara (March 15, 2019). "Medical marijuana 'Unity Bill' signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt".
  79. ^ Zheng, Lili (March 13, 2019). "Stitt signs 5 government accountability bills".
  80. ^ Boles, Brad (May 26, 2019). "Legislature adjourns, Gov. Stitt signs budget".
  81. ^ Hoberock, Barbara (February 27, 2019). "'Constitutional carry' becomes first legislation signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt".
  82. ^ Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971 Amendments Act
  83. ^ Richey, Kate (January 1, 2012). "Medicaid 101: The SoonerCare Safety Net" (PDF). Oklahoma Policy Institute.
  84. ^ Young, Jeffery (November 19, 2012). "Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Governor, Rejects Medicaid Expansion, Health Insurance Exchanges". Huffington Post.
  85. ^ Rowley, D. Sean (May 17, 2019). "Stitt not supportive of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma". Cherokee Phoenix.
  86. ^ Wayland, Brooklyn (January 31, 2020). "At Medicaid block grants announcement, Stitt pitches SQ 802 alternative". NonDoc Media.
  87. ^ Hoberock, Barbara (April 26, 2019). "Stitt signs bill to reorganize Oklahoma Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals".
  88. ^ National Public Radio. "Tribal Gaming".
  89. ^ Forman, Carmen (July 10, 2019). "Stitt calls for renegoating Oklahoma tribal gaming compacts".
  90. ^ Stitt, Kevin (July 8, 2019). "Gov. Kevin Stitt: New gaming compacts must protect the interests of the tribes and the state".
  91. ^ Forman, Carmen (July 13, 2019). "Oklahoma's Five Tribes reject Stitt's call to renegotiate gaming compacts".
  92. ^ Hoberock, Barbara (July 28, 2019). "Legal expert says Stitt mistaken on tribal gaming fees assessment".
  93. ^ Forman, Carmen (August 12, 2019). "Lawmakers urge collaboration in gaming compact negotiations".
  94. ^ Forman, Carmen (August 30, 2019). "Tribes to Stitt: 'We still have some fundamental differences in our positions'".
  95. ^ reports, From staff. "Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations file federal lawsuit to end compact renewal dispute". Tulsa World. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  96. ^ "Update: Gov. Stitt signs 1-year extension for Choctaw Nation's hunting, fishing compact". KFOR.com. December 31, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  97. ^ "Candidate Surveys for June 26, 2018 Primary Election" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 28, 2018.
  98. ^ Reporter, Janelle Stecklein CNHI Oklahoma. "Machine guns, shooting matches encroaching election". Enidnews.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  99. ^ https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/03/16/collins-trump-nunes-coronavirus-guidelines-sot-vpx.cnn
  100. ^ Rosenberg, Jacob. "Devin Nunes just went on Fox News and told viewers, "It's a great time to go out"". Mother Jones. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  101. ^ https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/487846-oklahoma-governor-will-continue-to-take-his-family-out-to-dinner-amid
  102. ^ Casteel, Chris (March 16, 2020). "President Trump on Gov. Stitt's deleted tweet: Probably better not to go to restaurants". The Oklahoman. Tulsa World. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  103. ^ Douglas, Kaylee (March 15, 2020). "Oklahoma governor, mayor face backlash after posting photos in crowded restaurants". Oklahoma News 4. Archived from the original on June 5, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  104. ^ Wu, Nicholas; Subramanian, Courtney (July 15, 2020). "Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for coronavirus". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 17, 2020. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  105. ^ Murphy, Sean (July 15, 2020). "Oklahoma's governor says he has tested positive for COVID-19". The Moulton Advertiser. Associated Press.
  106. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/07/15/oklahoma-kevin-stitt-coronavirus/
  107. ^ "Oklahoma Farm Report - Gubernatorial Candidate Kevin Stitt Says Ag will Always have a Seat at the Table in His Administration". www.oklahomafarmreport.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  108. ^ "Kevin Stitt: Republican". May 31, 2018. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  109. ^ "State Election Results, Statewide Primary Election, June 26, 2018". www.ok.gov. Archived from the original on July 25, 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  110. ^ "UNOFFICIAL RESULTS". Oklahoma State Election Board. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Mary Fallin
Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
2018
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Mary Fallin
Governor of Oklahoma
2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Pence
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gary Herbert
as Governor of Utah
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Michelle Lujan Grisham
as Governor of New Mexico