Kevin Stitt

Last updated

Kevin Stitt
Kevin Stitt.jpg
28th Governor of Oklahoma
Assumed office
January 14, 2019
Lieutenant Matt Pinnell
Preceded by Mary Fallin
Personal details
Born
John Kevin Stitt

(1972-12-28) December 28, 1972 (age 46)
Milton, Florida, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Sarah Hazen
Children6
Residence Governor's Mansion
Education Oklahoma State University–Stillwater (BS)

John Kevin Stitt (born December 28, 1972) [1] [2] is an American businessman and politician serving as the 28th 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, defeating Democratic nominee and former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. 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 first Native American to serve as governor of Oklahoma.

Governor of Oklahoma head of state and of government of the U.S. state of Oklahoma

The Governor of Oklahoma is the head of state for the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Under the Oklahoma Constitution, the governor is also the head of government, serving as the chief executive of the Oklahoma executive branch, of the government of Oklahoma. The governor is the ex officio Commander-in-Chief of the Oklahoma National Guard when not called into federal use. Despite being an executive branch official, the governor also holds legislative and judicial powers. The governor's responsibilities include making yearly "State of the State" addresses to the Oklahoma Legislature, submitting the annual state budget, ensuring that state laws are enforced, and that the peace is preserved. The governor's term is four years in length.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial election

In the 2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial election on November 6, 2018, Kevin Stitt, Republican party nominee was elected as the next governor of Oklahoma. Incumbent Republican governor Mary Fallin was term-limited and could not seek reelection to a third consecutive term. Primary elections occurred on June 26, 2018, with primary runoff elections having occurred on August 28, 2018.

Contents

Early life

Stitt was born in Milton, Florida, and spent early years in Wayne, Oklahoma later moving to Norman, Oklahoma, where he grew up and his father was the pastor of Riverside Church. He graduated from Norman High School, [3] and went on to attend Oklahoma State University where he received a degree in accounting. While a student at OSU, Stitt worked to 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 sales person. [3] Stitt is also a member of the Gamma Lamba chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Milton, Florida City in Florida, United States

Milton is a city in Santa Rosa County, Florida. It is the county seat of Santa Rosa County, and is located in the Pensacola Metropolitan Area. Milton is located in the geographic center of Santa Rosa County, it is bordered by Pace to the west, and the Blackwater River to the east. As of 2016, the population of Milton was estimated to be 9,839.

Wayne, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Wayne is a town in McClain County, Oklahoma, United States. Wayne and McClain County are part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area The population was 519 according to the 2000 census ZIP code population of 1875 according to Sperling's BestPlaces. Wayne is part of the "Heart of Oklahoma" exurban area south of Norman OK and Oklahoma City OK. Wayne was so named by early railroad workers from Pennsylvania who adopted town names from the railways there, including Wayne, Paoli, Ardmore, and Wynnewood. Wayne is named for Mad Anthony Wayne a United States Army general and statesman. Gen. Wayne earned a reputation in the American Revolutionary War as a war hero. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt attended school in Wayne, OK in his early years before moving to nearby Norman, OK Stitt, a former Tulsa mortgage banker and business leader, recalled attending Wayne Schools in his inaugural address on January 14, 2019 in Oklahoma City, OK

Norman, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Norman is a city in the U.S. state of Oklahoma located 20 miles (32 km) south of downtown Oklahoma City. As the county seat of Cleveland County and a part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, its population was 110,925 at the 2010 census. Norman's estimated population of 122,843 in 2017 makes it the third-largest city in Oklahoma.

Financial services career

Stitt worked in the financial services sector before starting Gateway in 2000. [4] According to a profile of Stitt by Bloomberg News, he founded the company and was president and CEO until January 2014 when he became chairman-CEO. On the campaign trail, Stitt says that he started Gateway in 2000 with "$1,000 and a computer." Stitt’s first obstacle was to get approved as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lender, but the company needed a net worth of $50,000. To achieve this amount, Stitt put forward the equity in his home to grow Gateway. In 2002, Gateway secured its first warehouse line, began obtaining licensing in other states besides Oklahoma, and started recruiting loan officers. By 2006, Gateway had over 400 employees.

In August 2018 DS News reported that he stepped down as CEO and handed the reins to Stephen Curry, [5] while Stitt remained as Chairman. [6] Gateway is a mid-sized company based in Jenks, Oklahoma which employs more than 1,200 people. The firm originates mortgages in 41 states. [7]

Jenks, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Jenks is a city in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, United States, and a suburb of Tulsa, in the northeastern part of the state. It is situated between the Arkansas River and U.S. Route 75. Jenks is one of the fastest growing cities in Oklahoma. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 9,557, but by 2010, the population was 16,924, an increase of 77.1 percent.

Controversies

In 2009, the mortgage company was listed on a free business website whose founder was banned for life from Securities industry by SEC, Business Insider online article listed shadiest 15 companies for its business office in the state of Illinois. [8] [9] According to the Business Insider article, the company originated nearly twice as many bad mortgages as its competitors. [9] An article published by the Oklahoman newspaper on August 19, 2018, highlighted the inaccuracies of the Business Insider article, 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." [10]

<i>Business Insider</i> Financial and business news website published by Insider Inc.

Business Insider is an American financial and business news website published by Insider Inc. It operates international editions in the UK, Australia, China, Germany, France, South Africa, India, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Northern Europe, Poland, Spain and Singapore. Several International editions are published in local languages: Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Polish and Japanese. It is owned by the German publishing house, Axel Springer SE.

NEWS9 also said that according to Georgia's Department of Banking and Finance, Stitt was banned for five years [11] and the company was banned for life from origination mortgages in Georgia. According to an Oklahoman article, a Gateway corporate attorney said that there were misrepresentations and insufficient background checks attributable to employees in the Georgia office but that Stitt was not involved. The employees were terminated 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. [10]

During the gubernatorial campaign, Oklahoma Watch reported that Gateway was fined by Wisconsin regulators for a "clerical error" regarding the firm's history with regulators from other states. Gateway corrected the application and was issued a license in 2009 and continues to be in good standing with the state of Wisconsin today. [12]

2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaign

In July 2017, Stitt announced his candidacy [13] [14] [15] [16] for the Republican nomination [17] [18] for the gubernatorial election of Oklahoma. [19] [20] He ran a 77 county campaign with campaign stops in nearly every city and town, against nine other candidates in the primary election, placing second in that race and defeating, among others, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb. [21] [22] In the August 28 primary runoff, Stitt defeated Mick Cornett, a former Mayor of Oklahoma City, to win the nomination. [23] Stitt defeated Democrat former Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Libertarian Chris Powell in the general election in November 2018. [24]

In the GOP runoff, Stitt received a major boost as he was endorsed by a trio of conservative leaders U.S. Senator Ted Cruz [25] and former U.S. Senators Rick Santorum [26] and Tom Coburn. [27] In the General Election, Stitt was also endorsed by former primary rival Mick Cornett, [28] the incumbent governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, [29] and President Donald Trump. [30] The Oklahoman reported that the Stitt campaign rejected the endorsement of Governor Fallin, stating "'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.'" [28]

During his campaign, Stitt labeled himself "the only job creator with proven business experience" for governor [31] and emphasized his business background. [32] He called on the state to become "top 10 in job growth, top 10 in education and top 10 in infrastructure." [33]

During the general election, the close race drew increased attention from national media and political figures. [34] Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Stitt during the general election. [35] [36] [37] [38]

Governor of Oklahoma

Transition

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

A spokesperson from the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced that Stitt would not immediately assume control of the Governor's Office until early 2020 due to the previously scheduled Capitol 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 high school. [39]

Inauguration

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

Administration personnel

The Cabinet of Governor Kevin Stitt
(2019–Present)
OfficeNameTerm
GovernorKevin Stitt2019-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 EnvironmentKenneth Wagner2019-Present
Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur 2019-Present
Secretary of TransportationTim Gatz2019-Present
Secretary of Public SafetyChip Keating2019-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 HealthJerome Loughridge2019-Present
Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood InitiativesSteve Buck2019-Present
Secretary of Science and InnovationKayse Shrum2019-Present
Secretary of Native American AffairsLisa Johnson Billy2019-Present
Secretary of Digital Transformation and AdministrationDavid Ostrowe2019-Present
Chief of StaffMichael Junk2019-Present
General CounselMark Burget2019-Present
Adjutant General Michael C. Thompson 2019-Present

Before taking office, Stitt nominated former state Representative Michael Rogers as his Oklahoma 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] Stitt nominated Kenneth Wagner (a former senior advisor to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt) to serve as Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment. [43] and Blayne Arthur (a former deputy secretary for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry) to be Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture. [44] Stitt retained several Fallin administration officials in office, including Major General Michael C. Thompson as Adjutant General of Oklahoma and as Rusty Rhoades as Oklahoma Secretary of Safety and Security, respectively. [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 Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development, [47] nominated the executive director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority [48] , Tim Gatz, as Secretary of Transportation; and nominated David Ostrowe as his Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration. [49] Stitt appointed Lt. Governor Pinnell as his Secretary of Tourism and Branding, overseeing the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation, and as senior advisor for the Commerce Department overseeing investment into Oklahoma's federally-approved opportunity zones. [50]

Executive action

Executive orders

Relative No.Year No.Absolute No.Date signedDescriptionOAC CitationOAR Doc. NumberRef.
12019-011844January 24, 2019Creating the Governor's Cabinet 36 Ok Reg 31319-43
22019-021845January 24, 2019Requiring all State agencies to report lobbying activities36 Ok Reg 31719-44
32019-031846January 24, 2019Requiring all new hirings and promotions of State employees be approved by respective Cabinet Secretary36 Ok Reg 31819-45
42019-041848January 24, 2019Directing the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to sell certain state-owned aircraft36 Ok Reg 31919-46
5Amended 2019-011849February 18, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-0136 Ok Reg 33919-162
6Amended 2019-031850February 26, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-0336 Ok Reg 34319-177
72019-051851March 12, 2019Continuing the Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence36 Ok Reg 37519-244
82019-061852April 9, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on April 10, 2019 in honor of USMC Cpl Claire Goldtrap36 Ok Reg 41519-354
92019-071855April 11, 2019Providing which Executive Orders from previous Governors remain in effect36 Ok Reg 41619-358
102019-081853April 9, 2019Establishing list of State holidays for 202036 Ok Reg 41719-355
11Second Amended 2019-011854April 9, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-0136 Ok Reg 41119-356
122019-091856April 16, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on April 19, 2019 in honor of those killed or injured in the Oklahoma City bombing 36 Ok Reg 42919-366
132019-101857April 16, 2019Authorizing the Commissioner of Public Safety to allow State agencies to maintain minimum services during hazardous weather36 Ok Reg 42919-367
142019-111858April 16, 2019Requiring all administrative rules issued by State agencies be approved by respective Cabinet Secretary36 Ok Reg 42919-368
152019-121859April 16, 2019Transferring all State-owned aircraft to the control of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety 36 Ok Reg 43019-369
162019-131860April 16, 2019Requiring all non-essential out-of-state travel by State employees be approved by respective Cabinet Secretary36 Ok Reg 43119-370
172019-141861April 16, 2019Requiring all State agencies to dispose of underutilized State-owned real property36 Ok Reg 43219-371
182019-151862April 16, 2019Authorizing Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services to close State office in the event a hazardous condition exists36 Ok Reg 43319-372
19Amended 2019-131863April 17, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-1336 Ok Reg 43219-373
202019-161864April 24, 2019Revoking Executive Order No. 2017-3836 Ok Reg 43319-374
212019-171865April 30, 2019Revoking Executive Order No. 2015-33 and requiring the Oklahoma Attorney General to review disciplinary actions of all State licensing boards36 Ok Reg 43319-395
222019-181866May 1, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on May 2, 2019 in honor of former State Representative Charlie Joyner36 Ok Reg 43419-396
232019-191867May 1, 2019Declaring a state of emergency due to natural disasters and directing Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management to coordinate response36 Ok Reg 43519-397
24Amended 2019-191869May 8, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-1936 Ok Reg 46119-401
252019-201868May 3, 2019Requiring social media policies of State agencies to apply to State employees only while on they are on duty36 Ok Reg 46119-400
262019-211870May 15, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on May 15, 2019 in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day 36 Ok Reg 46219-402
272019-221874May 20, 2019Creating the Criminal Justice Reentry, Supervision, Treatment and Opportunity Reform Task Force
282019-231875May 24, 2019Declaring a statewide emergency and temporarily suspending regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
292019-241876May 24, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on May 27, 2019 in honor of Memorial Day
30Second Amended 2019-191877May 24, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-19
31Amended 2019-231878May 24, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-23
32Third Amended 2019-191880May 30, 2019Amending Executive Order No. 2019-19
332019-251881June 3, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on June 4, 2019 in respect for the victims of the Virginia Beach shooting
342019-261882June 9, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on Jun3 5, 2019 in honor of former State Senator Jonathan Edgar Nichols
342019-271883June 14, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on June 17, 2019 in honor of former State Senator Earl Garrison
342019-281884June 14, 2019Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on June 14, 2019 in honor of Claremore firefighter Marty Osborne

Executive proclamations

Relative No.Year No.Absolute No.Date signedDescriptionRef.
12019-0192786February 26, 2019Calling special election to fill office of School Board Member for Office 2 for Wilburton Public Schools
22019-0292887April 16, 2019Calling special election to fill office of Chief of Police for Vinita, OK
32019-0392983May 13, 2019Calling special election to fill office of County Commissioner for District 3 for Harmon County, OK

Judicial appointments

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

Appellate courts

As of June 16, 2019, Stitt has made no appointments to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, or the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals.

Trial courts

#JudgePositionCountyDistrictFormer JudgeAppointment dateEnd of serviceSuccessor JudgeRef.
1Christine LarsonAssociate District Judge Cimarron 1stRonald L. KincannonMarch 8, 2019IncumbentIncumbent

Policy stances

Stitt received a 100% score from the pro life advocacy group Oklahomans for Life. [51]

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. [52]

Personal life

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. [3] Kevin Stitt's maternal grandparents were dairy farmers in Skiatook. Stitt's paternal grandfather was formerly the head veterinarian at the Oklahoma City Stockyards. [53]

Stitt married Sarah Hazen in 1998 and they have six children. Stitt and his wife are active in their church in Tulsa, Woodlake Church. [54]

Electoral history

June 26, 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary [55]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Mick Cornett132,80629.3
Republican Kevin Stitt110,47924.4
Republican Todd Lamb107,98523.9
Republican Dan Fisher35,8187.9
Republican Gary Jones25,2435.6
Republican Gary Richardson18,1854.0
Republican Blake Stephens12,2112.7
Republican Christopher Barnett5,2401.2
Republican Barry Gowdy2,3470.5
Republican Eric Foutch2,2920.5
Total votes452,606100.0
August 28, 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary runoff [56]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kevin Stitt164,89254.56
Republican Mick Cornett137,31645.44
Total votes302,208100.0
2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial election
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kevin Stitt644,57954.33%
Democratic Drew Edmondson500,97342.23%
Libertarian Chris Powell40,8333.44%
Total votes1,186,385100.0%
Republican hold

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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