I am a conservative Republican candidate for governor who is running to end politics as usual at the State Capitol and to lead Oklahoma with a vision to be Top Ten in government efficiency, education, growth, infrastructure, and healthcare. I was raised in Norman where my dad was a pastor and spent many summers as a youth in Skiatook where my grandfather owned a dairy farm. I graduated from Norman High School and worked my way through Oklahoma State University by selling books for the Southwestern Company. In 2000, I founded my company, Gateway Mortgage, with only $1,000 and a computer. Through strong leadership and a clear vision, I have grown my business into a nationwide company where we employee over 1,200 people and operate in 41 states. I have been married to my wife, Sarah, for nearly 20 years and together we have six children and live in Tulsa.
Why are you running for this office?
For the past 20 years, I have had my head down, raising my family and building a company from scratch into a nationwide business. A couple years ago, my eyes really opened to the mess at our State Capitol. I was traveling to my field offices in Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee and other places where I saw great momentum and growth taking place. Then I’d come home, to the state that I love, to see Oklahoma in last place in every critical category. I realized that those running for governor were more of the same – career politicians. My family and I decided to step away from our Oklahoma business for a season to go serve our state and bring a fresh perspective to our government. I am ready to be a leader that guides our state in making decisions for the next generation, not the next election.
What do you think are the top three biggest challenges facing our state?
The biggest challenges facing our state are: lack of accountability in state government, a broken education system, and the need for economic growth. Last year, we had agencies under investigation for mismanaging our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. The Health Department lost $30 million. Later, the department found the $30 million. They had it all along! We need to hold our agencies accountable for their actions and provide greater transparency across the board. We also have a broken education system with outcomes ranking in the bottom ten. If we want to recruit great teachers, we have to pay competitive salaries. If we want to attract and retain jobs, we’ve got to have great schools. Finally, we must diversify Oklahoma’s economy and create a more stable future for our state. Oklahoma is prime to attract new businesses and job creators but lacks a focus on recruitment.
What are your top five priorities to address while in office?
To make Oklahoma a Top Ten State, I plan to focus my policy priorities on five pillars: government efficiency, education, economic growth, infrastructure, and healthcare. Our turnaround as a state starts by establishing accountability and transparency within our government. A Stitt Administration will:
• Ask the Legislature to give the governor authority to fire agency heads, appoint Oklahomans with real experience in their industries, and apply performance metrics to assess agencies.
• Fight for competitive teacher wages and work with the State Superintendent to fund programs with revenue growth that train, retrain and attract the best teachers.
• Recruit businesses that diversify Oklahoma’s economy and cut unnecessary red tape that is hampering competition and stifling entrepreneurship.
• Fund a comprehensive infrastructure plan that provides solutions for our community and paves the way for high-level economic growth.
When faced with a specific situation that puts your personal viewpoint at odds with a great many of your constituents, what decision do you make and why?
It is the duty of the governor to listen, respond and uphold the will of their constituents. With this being said, as governor, I will stand firm in and clearly communicate my beliefs and viewpoints. I will sign every pro-life bill that hits my desk, be a proponent of Oklahomans’ Second Amendment rights, and protect the hardworking Oklahoma taxpayer. However, the beauty of our democratic system is Oklahomans ultimately have the final word in what they want to see in their government. If Oklahomans make clear through a vote of the people that they are in favor of a policy that goes against my personal values, a Stitt Administration will implement that policy and not change or ignore the will of the people.
What is your proposed plan for protecting the states natural resources, including water?
As governor, we will support common-sense regulations that are consistent and take a comprehensive approach that considers our job creators, landowners, and the state’s natural resources. We will fight back against federal government overreach when it comes to our natural resources. Every state’s geography, natural resources, and economy are different, and protecting these resources are best left to the states.
Kevin Stitt, Runoff election - Governor - Republican