John Kevin Stitt was born on December 28, 1972. He is the 28th governor of Oklahoma and an American businessman and politician. He took office as governor in January 2019, as a member of the Republican Party.
Stitt, a Cherokee Nation member, is the first tribally enrolled Native American governor in the United States. Also, he is Oklahoma’s second governor of Native blood following Johnston Murray.
Stitt was raised in Norman, Oklahoma. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Oklahoma State University. He founded Gateway Mortgage Group and served as its chairman and CEO.
Kevin Stitt as the Governor of Oklahoma
Stitt launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor of 2018 in July 2017. In the primary election, he faced nine other candidates. A statewide campaign was started that included stops in almost every city and town in all 77 counties. He came in second place, defeating Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb among others.
Stitt beat Mick Cornett, a former mayor of Oklahoma City, in the August 28 primary runoff. Stitt beat the Democratic contender General Drew Edmondson and Libertarian Chris Powell in the general election in November.
Kevin Stitt at CPAC 2022
Stitt launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018 in July 2017. In the primary election, he faced nine other candidates and waged a statewide campaign that included stops in virtually every city and town in all 77 counties.
Stitt garnered vital support from a trio of conservative leaders in the GOP runoff. It includes U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and former U.S. Senators Rick Santorum and Tom Coburn. Stitt was backed in the general election by former primary opponent Mick Cornett, the incumbent governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, and President Donald Trump.
With a press release, the Stitt team quickly 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. He is focused on changing the structure of state government and cleaning up the mess we are currently in at the Capitol.”
During his campaign, Stitt positioned himself as “the only job creator with proven business experience” running for governor and emphasized his business background. He called on the state to become “top 10 in job growth, top 10 in education and top 10 in infrastructure.”
Oklahoma Chief Justice Noma Gurich swore Stitt and Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell on January 14, 2019. Stitt then delivered a 15-minute inauguration speech.
Stitt authorized the reorganization of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma and the Court of Civil Appeals. The Supreme Court justices were appointed from nine distinct districts that represented diverse groups of counties. The Act redraws the Court’s nine judicial districts such that five are coequal with the state’s five congressional districts and the other four are at large with the state as a whole as of 2020.
Handling of the Corona Pandemic
Stitt went to the restaurants in March 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic. He shared a photo on Twitter of himself and two of his children at a restaurant. Later, he removed the post. His spokesperson stated, “the governor will continue to take his family out to dinner and the grocery store without living in fear and encourages Oklahomans to do the same.”
President Trump stated that he does not support eating out, but he did not condemn Stitt. Stitt wrote in a tweet, “Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans … It’s packed tonight!”
Stitt revealed his positive COVID-19 test on July 15. He was the first governor of the United States who was tested positive for COVID-19.
Kevin Stitt wrote to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, requesting that the Oklahoma National Guard’s COVID-19 immunization requirements must be suspended.
Stitt later fired the head of the Oklahoma National Guard. It was done because he urged his men to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccination requirements were denied by Stitt’s new appointee.
Kevin Stitt never used his Facebook account to promote vaccination. None of his recent 45 news releases included vaccination, despite the fact that Oklahoma has one of the highest COVID-19 test positive rates in the country.
Kevin Stitt’s Wife: Sarah Stitt
In 1998, Stitt married Sarah Hazen. Sarah worked 20 years at Gateway Mortgage establishing a welcoming work environment that encouraged spiritual, relational, and professional growth.
Sarah is the president of a non-profit organization called Friends of the Mansion. It is dedicated to the upkeep and restores the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion. She is currently in charge of the Governor’s Mansion’s rehabilitation. She works with the goal of returning the property to its original structure and preserving its historical importance.
She and Kevin are parents to six children.