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 Lambda 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, Gateway was listed in a Business Insider article as one of the fifteen shadiest lenders in the government-backed mortgage industry. According to the 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 governor in 2018. 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|
|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 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 Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, 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. 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 to serve as the liaison between the Stitt Administration and the 38 federally-recognized Indian tribes in Oklahoma. John Budd, a corporate executive at Sonic Drive-In, was picked by Stitt to serve as the Oklahoma's first Chief Operating Officer.
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. Stitt tapped Director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs to serve as his Oklahoma Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Development. Brian Brurud, a former United States Navy fighter pilot, was also named Oklahoma Secretary of Veterans Affairs. However, in March 2019 Brurud faced accusation of violating federal labor law by underpaying veterans at his company. Following the allegations, Brurud withdrew his name from consideration. Stitt then picked former United States Air Force Brigadier General Ben Robinson in April 2019 to hold the post. Stitt appointed energy executive Jerome Loughridge as Oklahoma Secretary of Health and Mental Health and Dr. Kayse Shrum, president of the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, as Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology in March 2019.
Cabinet confirmation processEdit
|Cabinet confirmation process|
|Office||Name||Announcement||Senate Committee||Full Senate
|Confirmation vote |
|Secretary of State||Mike Rogers||November 27, 2018||General Government||April 23, 2019||44-0-4|
|Secretary of Education||January 24, 2019|
|Secretary of Energy and Environment||Kenneth E. Wagner||November 28, 2018||Energy||May 1, 2019||41-0-7|
|Secretary of Agriculture||Blayne Arthur||December 13, 2018||Agriculture and Wildlife||February 26, 2019||43-0-5|
|Adjutant General||Michael C. Thompson||December 14, 2018||Veterans Affairs and Military||May 13, 2019||45-1-2|
|Secretary of the Budget||Mike Mazzie||December 20, 2018||Appropriations||May 15, 2019||47-1-0|
|Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development||Sean P. Kouplen||January 3, 2019||Business, Commerce, and Tourism||April 16, 2019||43-0-5|
|Secretary of Agency Accountability||John Budd||January 7, 2019||General Government||April 23, 2019||44-0-4|
|Secretary of Tourism and Branding||Matt Pinnell||January 17, 2019||Business, Commerce, and Tourism||April 23, 2019||46-0-2|
|Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration||David Ostrowe||January 18, 2019||General Government||April 23, 2019||44-0-4|
|Secretary of Transportation||Tim Garz||January 18, 2019||Transportation||April 23, 2019||45-0-3|
|Secretary of Native American Affairs||Lisa Johnson Billy||January 30, 2019||General Government||April 23, 2019||44-0-4|
|Secretary of Human Services||Steven Buck||February 14, 2019||Health and Human Services||May 8, 2019||46-0-2|
|Secretary of Public Safety||Chip Keating||February 21, 2019||Public Safety||April 24, 2019||42-0-6|
|Secretary of Veterans Affairs||Brian Brurud||February 21, 2019||Nomination withdrawn March 18, 2019|
|Ben Robinson||April 15, 2019||Veterans Affairs and Military||May 13, 2019||46-0-2|
|Secretary of Science and Innovation||Kayse Shrum||March 14, 2019||Education||May 2, 2019||44-0-4|
|Secretary of Health||Jerome Loughridge||March 14, 2019||Health and Human Services||May 8, 2019||47-0-1|
|Sub-Cabinet confirmation process|
|Office||Name||Announcement||Senate Committee||Full Senate
|Confirmation vote |
|Commissioner of Department of Agriculture||Blayne Arthur||December 13, 2018||Agriculture and Wildlife||February 26, 2019||43-0-5|
|Director of Department of Commerce||Brent Kisling||January 3, 2019||Business, Commerce, and Tourism||April 16, 2019||43-0-5|
|Director of Office of Management and Enterprise Services||John Budd||January 7, 2019||General Government||April 23, 2019||46-0-2|
|Commissioner of Department of Health||Tom Bates||January 14, 2019||Interim basis|
|State Chief Information Officer||Bo Reese||January 14, 2019||Senate confirmation not required|
|Director of Office of Homeland Security||Kim E. Carter||January 15, 2019||Senate confirmation not required|
|Director of Department of Emergency Management||Mark Gower||January 29, 2019||Public Safety||April 24, 2019||42-0-6|
|Commissioner of Department of Public Safety||Rusty Rhoades||February 22, 2019||Public Safety||April 24, 2019||42-0-6|
|Director of Department of Tourism and Recreation||Jerry Winchester||April 2, 2019||Business, Commerce, and Tourism||May 7, 2019||45-0-3|
|Director of Department of Transportation||Tim Gatz||May 1, 2019||Transportation||May 13, 2019||48-0-0|
|Director of Office of Juvenile Affairs||Steven Buck||May 1, 2019||Health and Human Services||May 15, 2019||47-0-1|
|Director of Department of Human Services||Justin Brown||June 4, 2019||Senate confirmation pending|
|Director of Department of Corrections||Scott Crow||June 14, 2019||Interim basis|
|Deputy Secretary of Health||Carter Kimble||June 21, 2019||Senate confirmation not required|
|Secretary of the Land Office||A. Brandt Vawter||July 8, 2019||Interim basis|
|Director of Health Care Authority||Kevin Cobertt||August 5, 2019||Senate confirmation pending|
|Director of Office of Workforce Development||Don Morris||August 12, 2019||Senate confirmation not required|
|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||36 Ok Reg 313||19-43|||
|2||2019-02||1845||January 24, 2019||Requiring all State agencies to report lobbying activities||36 Ok Reg 317||19-44|||
|3||2019-03||1846||January 24, 2019||Prohibiting all new hirings and promotions of State employees without the approval of respective Cabinet Secretary||36 Ok Reg 318||19-45|||
|4||2019-04||1848||January 24, 2019||Directing the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to sell certain state-owned aircraft||36 Ok Reg 319||19-46|||
|5||Amended 2019-01||1849||February 18, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-01||36 Ok Reg 339||19-162|||
|6||Amended 2019-03||1850||February 26, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-03||36 Ok Reg 343||19-177|||
|7||2019-05||1851||March 12, 2019||Continuing the Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence||36 Ok Reg 375||19-244|||
|8||2019-06||1852||April 9, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on April 10, 2019 in honor of USMC Cpl Claire Goldtrap||36 Ok Reg 415||19-354|||
|9||2019-07||1855||April 11, 2019||Providing which Executive Orders from previous Governors remain in effect||36 Ok Reg 416||19-358|||
|10||2019-08||1853||April 9, 2019||Establishing list of State holidays for 2020||36 Ok Reg 417||19-355|||
|11||Second Amended 2019-01||1854||April 9, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-01||36 Ok Reg 411||19-356|||
|12||2019-09||1856||April 16, 2019||Requiring 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 429||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||36 Ok Reg 429||19-367|||
|14||2019-11||1858||April 16, 2019||Prohibiting all State agencies from issuing new administrative rules without the approval of respective Cabinet Secretary||36 Ok Reg 429||19-368|||
|15||2019-12||1859||April 16, 2019||Transferring all State-owned aircraft to the control of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety||36 Ok Reg 430||19-369|||
|16||2019-13||1860||April 16, 2019||Prohibiting all State agencies from authorizing non-essential out-of-stat travel by State employees without the approval of respective Cabinet Secretary||36 Ok Reg 431||19-370|||
|17||2019-14||1861||April 16, 2019||Requiring all State agencies to dispose of underutilized State-owned real property||36 Ok Reg 432||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||36 Ok Reg 433||19-372|||
|19||Amended 2019-13||1863||April 17, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-13||36 Ok Reg 432||19-373|||
|20||2019-16||1864||April 24, 2019||Revoking Executive Order No. 2017-38||36 Ok Reg 433||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||36 Ok Reg 433||19-395|||
|22||2019-18||1866||May 1, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on May 2, 2019 in honor of former State Representative Charlie Joyner||36 Ok Reg 434||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||36 Ok Reg 435||19-397|||
|24||Amended 2019-19||1869||May 8, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-19||36 Ok Reg 461||19-401|||
|25||2019-20||1868||May 3, 2019||Requiring social media policies of State agencies to apply to State employees only while on they are on duty||36 Ok Reg 461||19-400|||
|26||2019-21||1870||May 15, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on May 15, 2019 in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day||36 Ok Reg 462||19-402|||
|27||2019-22||1874||May 20, 2019||Creating the Criminal Justice Reentry, Supervision, Treatment and Opportunity Reform Task Force|||
|28||2019-23||1875||May 24, 2019||Declaring a statewide emergency and temporarily suspending regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration|||
|29||2019-24||1876||May 24, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on May 27, 2019 in honor of Memorial Day|||
|30||Second Amended 2019-19||1877||May 24, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-19|||
|31||Amended 2019-23||1878||May 24, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-23|||
|32||Third Amended 2019-19||1880||May 30, 2019||Amending Executive Order No. 2019-19|||
|33||2019-25||1881||June 3, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on June 4, 2019 in respect for the victims of the Virginia Beach shooting|||
|34||2019-26||1882||June 9, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on Jun3 5, 2019 in honor of former State Senator Jonathan Edgar Nichols|||
|35||2019-27||1883||June 14, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on June 17, 2019 in honor of former State Senator Earl Garrison|||
|36||2019-28||1884||June 14, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on June 14, 2019 in honor of Claremore firefighter Marty Osborne|||
|37||2019-29||1885||July 5, 2019||Extending Executive Order No. 2019-02 and prohibiting all State agencies from hiring lobbyists without the approval of respective Cabinet Secretary|||
|38||2019-30||1886||July 22, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff on July 23, 2019 in honor of former US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens|||
|39||2019-31||1887||August 5, 2019||Requiring all State flags flown at half-staff from August 5 to August 8, 2019 in respect for the victims of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton|||
|Relative No.||Year No.||Absolute No.||Date signed||Description||Ref.|
|1||2019-01||92786||February 26, 2019||Calling special election to fill office of School Board Member for Office 2 for Wilburton Public Schools|||
|2||2019-02||92887||April 16, 2019||Calling special election to fill office of Chief of Police for Vinita, OK|||
|3||2019-03||92983||May 13, 2019||Calling special election to fill office of County Commissioner for District 3 for Harmon County, OK|||
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.
|#||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|||
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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- "Stitt picks retired Air Force general for cabinet post". The Daily Oklahoman. April 15, 2019.
- "Governor Kevin Stitt announces Two Additional Cabinet Secretaries". Office of Governor Stitt. March 14, 2019.
- "Candidate Surveys for June 26, 2018 Primary Election" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 28, 2018.
- Reporter, Janelle Stecklein CNHI Oklahoma. "Machine guns, shooting matches encroaching election". Enidnews.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "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.
- "Kevin Stitt: Republican". May 31, 2018. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- "State Election Results, Statewide Primary Election, June 26, 2018". www.ok.gov. Archived from the original on July 25, 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- "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