John Kevin Stitt (born December 28, 1972) 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 second Native American to serve as governor of Oklahoma after Johnston Murray.
|28th Governor of Oklahoma|
|Assumed office |
January 14, 2019
|Preceded by||Mary Fallin|
John Kevin Stitt
December 28, 1972
Milton, Florida, U.S.
|Education||Oklahoma State University–Stillwater (BS)|
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, 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. Stitt is also a member of the Gamma Lamba chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
Financial services careerEdit
Stitt worked in the financial services sector before starting Gateway in 2000. 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, while Stitt remained as Chairman. Gateway is a mid-sized company based in Jenks, Oklahoma which employs more than 1,200 people. The firm originates mortgages in 41 states.
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. According to the Business Insider article, the company originated nearly twice as many bad mortgages as its competitors. 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." 
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. 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.
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.
2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaignEdit
In July 2017, Stitt announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the gubernatorial election of Oklahoma. 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. In the August 28 primary runoff, Stitt defeated Mick Cornett, a former Mayor of Oklahoma City, to win the nomination. Stitt defeated Democrat former Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Libertarian Chris Powell in the general election in November 2018.
In the GOP runoff, Stitt received a major boost as he was endorsed by a trio of conservative leaders U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and former U.S. Senators Rick Santorum and Tom Coburn. In the General Election, Stitt was also endorsed by former primary rival Mick Cornett, the incumbent governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, and President Donald Trump. 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.'"
During his campaign, Stitt labeled himself "the only job creator with proven business experience" 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."
During the general election, the close race drew increased attention from national media and political figures. Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Stitt during the general election.
Governor of OklahomaEdit
Following the election, transition activities began as Stitt prepared to assume office.
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.
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.
|The Cabinet of Governor Kevin Stitt|
|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-Present|
|Secretary of Science and Innovation||Kayse Shrum||2019-Present|
|Secretary of Native American Affairs||Lisa Johnson Billy||2019-Present|
|Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration||David Ostrowe||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 Oklahoma Secretary of State and Tulsa Deputy Mayor Michael Junk (a former advisor to U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn) as his chief of staff. Stitt nominated Kenneth Wagner (a former senior advisor to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt) to serve as Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment. and Blayne Arthur (a former deputy secretary for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry) to be Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture. 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. 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.
In January 2019, Stitt nominated Tulsa banker Sean Kouplen as Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development, nominated the executive director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Tim Gatz, as Secretary of Transportation; and nominated David Ostrowe as his Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration. 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.
|Relative No.||Year No.||Absolute No.||Date signed||Description||OAC Citation||OAR Doc. Number||Ref.|
|1||2019-01||1844||January 24, 2019||Creating the Governor's Cabinet||1:2019-1||19-43|||
|2||2019-02||1845||January 24, 2019||Requiring all State agencies to report lobbying activities||1:2019-2||19-44|||
|3||2019-03||1846||January 24, 2019||Requiring all new hirings and promotions of State employees be approved by respective Cabinet Secretary||1:2019-3||19-45|||
|4||2019-04||1848||January 24, 2019||Directing the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to sell certain state-owned aircraft||1:2019-4||19-46|||
|5||Amended 2019-01||1849||February 18, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-01||1:2019-1A||19-162|||
|6||Amended 2019-03||1850||February 26, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-03||1:2019-3A||19-177|||
|7||2019-05||1851||March 12, 2019||Continuing the Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence||1:2019-5||19-244|||
|8||2019-06||1852||April 9, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff in honor of USMC Cpl Claire Goldtrap||1:2019-6||19-354|||
|9||2019-07||1855||April 11, 2019||Providing which Executive Orders from previous Governors remain in effect||1:2019-7||19-358|||
|10||2019-08||1853||April 9, 2019||Establishing list of State holidays for 2020||1:2019-8||19-355|||
|11||Second Amended 2019-01||1854||April 9, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-01||1:2019-1B||19-356|||
|12||2019-09||1856||April 16, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff in honor of those killed or injured in the Oklahoma City bombing||1:2019-9||19-366|||
|13||2019-10||1857||April 16, 2019||Authorizing the Commissioner of Public Safety to allow State agencies to maintain minimum services during hazardous weather||1:2019-10||19-367|||
|14||2019-11||1858||April 16, 2019||Requiring all administrative rules issued by State agencies be approved by respective Cabinet Secretary||1:2019-11||19-368|||
|15||2019-12||1859||April 16, 2019||Transfering all State-owned aircraft to the control of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety||1:2019-12||19-369|||
|16||2019-13||1860||April 16, 2019||Requiring all non-essential out-of-state travel by State employees be approved by respective Cabinet Secretary||1:2019-13||19-370|||
|17||2019-14||1861||April 16, 2019||Requiring all State agencies to dispose of underutilized State-owned real property||1:2019-14||19-371|||
|18||2019-15||1862||April 16, 2019||Authorizing Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services to close State office in the event a hazardous condition exists||1:2019-15||19-372|||
|19||Amended 2019-13||1863||April 17, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-13||1:2013-13A||19-373|||
|20||2019-16||1864||April 24, 2019||Revoking Executive Order No. 2017-38||1:2019-16||19-374|||
|21||2019-17||1865||April 30, 2019||Revoking Executive Order No. 2015-33 and requiring the Oklahoma Attorney General to review disciplinary actions of all State licensing boards||1:2019-17||19-395|||
|22||2019-18||1866||May 1, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff in honor of former State Representative Charlie Joyner||1:2019-18||19-396|||
|23||2019-19||1867||May 1, 2019||Declaring a state of emergency due to natural disasters and directing Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management to coordinate response||1:2019-19||19-397|||
|24||Amended 2019-19||1869||May 8, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-19|||
|25||2019-20||1868||May 30, 2019||Requiring social media policies of State agencies to apply to State employees only while on they are on duty|||
|26||2019-21||1870||May 15, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day|||
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.
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. Kevin Stitt's maternal grandparents were dairy farmers in Skiatook. Stitt's paternal grandfather was formerly the head veterinarian at the Oklahoma City Stockyards.
Stitt married Sarah Hazen in 1998 and they have six children. Stitt and his wife are active in their church in Tulsa, Woodlake Church.
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- "Candidate Profile: Kevin Stitt (R-OK)". United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
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- 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
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- 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.
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- 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."
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- Office of Governor Stitt (January 18, 2019). "Governor Kevin Stitt announces Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration". Office of Governor Stitt.
- "Governor Kevin Stitt appoints Lt. Gov. Pinnell to Cabinet as Secretary of Tourism and Branding". Office of Governor Stitt. January 17, 2019.
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- "UNOFFICIAL RESULTS". Oklahoma State Election Board. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
| Governor of Oklahoma
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Vice President
| Order of Precedence of the United States
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Otherwise Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
as Governor of Utah
| Order of Precedence of the United States
Michelle Lujan Grisham
as Governor of New Mexico