John Kevin Stitt (born December 28, 1972)[2][3] is an American businessman and politician serving as the 28th governor of Oklahoma. A member of the Republican Party, he began his term as governor in January 2019. As a member of the Cherokee Nation, Stitt is the second governor of Native descent after former Oklahoma governor Johnston Murray.

Stitt grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in accounting. He is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group.

Early life

Stitt was born in Milton, Florida, and spent his early years in Wayne, Oklahoma. He later moved to Norman, where his father was the pastor of Riverside Church. He graduated from Norman High School[4] and from Oklahoma State University with a degree in accounting. Stitt helped 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 salesperson.[4] Stitt is a member of the Gamma Lambda chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Financial services career

Stitt worked in the financial services sector before starting Gateway in 2000.[5] He founded the company and was president and CEO until January 2014, when he became chairman-CEO. Stitt has said he started Gateway in 2000 with “$1,000 and a computer.” His first obstacle was to get approved as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lender, for which the company needed a net worth of $50,000. To achieve that, Stitt put forward the equity in his home. In 2002, Gateway secured its first warehouse line, began obtaining licensing in states other than Oklahoma, and started recruiting loan officers. By 2006, it had over 400 employees.

In August 2018, Stitt stepped down as CEO and hired outside management. Legal Counsel Scott Gesell became CEO in 2020[6][7] and Stitt remained chairman until shortly before his inauguration as governor.[8] Gateway is a midsize company based in Jenks, Oklahoma. It employs more than 1,500 people and originates mortgages in 42 states.[9]

Gateway Mortgage license

After a decade of rapid growth, a few Gateway employees were fired for making non-compliant loans.[10] In 2009, Gateway was listed in a Business Insider article as one of the 15 shadiest lenders in the government-backed mortgage industry.[11][12] The article said Gateway originated nearly twice as many bad mortgages as its competitors.[12] An August 19, 2018, Oklahoman newspaper article highlighted the Business Insider article’s inaccuracies, 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. The Stitt campaign responded with a press release that said, “the license in Illinois was never revoked. The state agreed after the appeal not to revoke the license.”[10]

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 the Oklahoman, a Gateway corporate attorney said there were misrepresentations and insufficient background checks by employees in the Georgia office but Stitt was not involved. The employees were fired 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 Stitt’s gubernatorial campaign, Oklahoma Watch reported that Wisconsin regulators fined Gateway for a “clerical error” regarding its history with regulators from other states. Gateway corrected the application and was issued a license in 2009. It remains in good standing in Wisconsin.[13]

2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaign

In July 2017, Stitt announced his candidacy[14][15][16] for the Republican nomination[17][18] for governor in 2018.[19][20] Facing nine other candidates in the primary election, he ran a statewide campaign with stops in nearly every city and town in all 77 counties. He finished second, defeating, among others, Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb.[21][22] In the August 28 primary runoff, Stitt defeated Mick Cornett, a former mayor of Oklahoma City.[23] In the November general election, Stitt defeated the Democratic nominee, former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, and Libertarian Chris Powell.[24]

In the GOP runoff, political newcomer Stitt received crucial support from a trio of conservative leaders as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz[25] and former U.S. Senators Rick Santorum[26] and Tom Coburn endorsed him.[27] In the general election, Stitt was endorsed by former primary rival Mick Cornett,[28] the incumbent governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin,[29] and President Donald Trump.[30] The Stitt campaign promptly rejected Fallin’s endorsement with a press release: “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.”[28]

During his campaign, Stitt called himself “the only job creator with proven business experience” running 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.[35][36][37]

Governor of Oklahoma

Stitt (left) attending a White House conference in December 2018, seated next to Governor-elect Brad Little of Idaho.

Stitt was inaugurated on January 14, 2019, at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Chief Justice of Oklahoma Noma Gurich swore him and Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell into office. Stitt then gave a 15-minute inaugural address.[38]

Administration personnel

Cabinet positions

Before taking office, Stitt nominated former state Representative Michael Rogers as his Secretary of State and Tulsa Deputy Mayor Michael Junk (a former advisor to U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn)[39] as his chief of staff.[40]

On December 23, 2019, citing disagreements with Stitt over his handling of negotiations with the state’s various Indian tribes about gambling compacts, Lisa Johnson Billy became the first member of the Stitt’s cabinet to resign. A member of the Chickasaw Nation and former Republican state representative, Billy viewed Stitt’s negotiation position as one of “unnecessary conflict.”[41] Stitt tapped his Secretary of State Mike Rogers to assume those duties and temporarily combined the two positions.

Cabinet confirmation process

PositionNameAnnouncementSenate CommitteeFull Senate
vote date
Confirmation vote
(Yes-No-Absent)
Ref
Secretary of StateMike RogersNovember 27, 2018General GovernmentApril 23, 201944-0-4[2]
Secretary of EducationMike RogersJanuary 24, 2019General GovernmentApril 23, 201944-0-4[3]
Ryan WaltersSeptember 10, 2020Senate confirmation pending
Secretary of Energy and EnvironmentKenneth E. WagnerNovember 28, 2018EnergyMay 1, 201941-0-7[4]
Secretary of AgricultureBlayne ArthurDecember 13, 2018Agriculture and WildlifeFebruary 26, 201943-0-5[5]
Adjutant GeneralMichael C. ThompsonDecember 14, 2018Veterans Affairs and MilitaryMay 13, 201945-1-2[6]
Secretary of the BudgetMike MazzeiDecember 20, 2018AppropriationsMay 15, 201947-1-0[7]
Secretary of Commerce and Workforce DevelopmentSean P. KouplenJanuary 3, 2019Business, Commerce, and TourismApril 16, 201943-0-5[8]
Secretary of Agency AccountabilityJohn BuddJanuary 7, 2019General GovernmentApril 23, 201944-0-4[9]
Secretary of Tourism and BrandingMatt PinnellJanuary 17, 2019Business, Commerce, and TourismApril 23, 201946-0-2[10]
Secretary of Digital Transformation and AdministrationDavid OstroweJanuary 18, 2019General GovernmentApril 23, 201944-0-4[11]
Secretary of TransportationTim GatzJanuary 18, 2019TransportationApril 23, 201945-0-3[12]
Secretary of Native American AffairsLisa Johnson BillyJanuary 30, 2019General GovernmentApril 23, 201944-0-4[13]
Secretary of Human ServicesSteven BuckFebruary 14, 2019Health and Human ServicesMay 8, 201946-0-2[14]
Secretary of Public SafetyChip KeatingFebruary 21, 2019Public SafetyApril 24, 201942-0-6[15]
Secretary of Veterans AffairsBrian BrurudFebruary 21, 2019Nomination withdrawn March 18, 2019[16]
Ben RobinsonApril 15, 2019Veterans Affairs and MilitaryMay 13, 201946-0-2[17]
Secretary of Science and InnovationKayse ShrumMarch 14, 2019EducationMay 2, 201944-0-4[18]
Elizabeth PollardJune 29, 2020Senate confirmation pending
Secretary of HealthJerome LoughridgeMarch 14, 2019Health and Human ServicesMay 8, 201947-0-1[19]
Kevin CorbettJune 29, 2020Senate confirmation pending

Sub-Cabinet officials

OfficeAgencyNameAnnouncementSenate CommitteeFull Senate
vote date
Confirmation vote
(Yes-No-Absent)
Ref
CommissionerDepartment of AgricultureBlayne ArthurDecember 13, 2018Agriculture and WildlifeFebruary 26, 201943-0-5[20]
DirectorDepartment of CommerceBrent KislingJanuary 3, 2019Business, Commerce, and TourismApril 16, 201943-0-5[21]
DirectorOffice of Management and Enterprise ServicesJohn BuddJanuary 7, 2019General GovernmentApril 23, 201946-0-2[22]
Steven HarpeJanuary 23, 2020Senate confirmation pending[23]
CommissionerDepartment of HealthTom BatesJanuary 14, 2019Interim basis[24]
Gary CoxSeptember 12, 2019Senate confirmation pending[25]
State Chief Information OfficerOffice of Management and Enterprise ServicesBo ReeseJanuary 14, 2019Senate confirmation not required[26]
Donald MooreFebruary 13, 2020Senate confirmation not required[27]
Executive DirectorDepartment of Veteran AffairsDoug ElliotJanuary 14, 2019Senate confirmation not required
Joel KintselSeptember 6, 2019Senate confirmation not required[28]
Executive DirectorTurnpike AuthorityTim GatzJanuary 14, 2019Senate confirmation not required
CommissionerDepartment of Mental HealthTerri WhiteJanuary 14, 2019Senate confirmation not required
Carrie Slatton-HodgesFebruary 1, 2020Interim basis
Director of Homeland SecurityDepartment of Public SafetyKim E. CarterJanuary 15, 2019Senate confirmation not required[29]
DirectorDepartment of Emergency ManagementMark GowerJanuary 29, 2019Public SafetyApril 24, 201942-0-6[30]
CommissionerDepartment of Public SafetyRusty RhoadesFebruary 22, 2019Public SafetyApril 24, 201942-0-6[31]
John ScullySeptember 2, 2019Senate confirmation pending[32]
DirectorDepartment of Tourism and RecreationJerry WinchesterApril 2, 2019Business, Commerce, and TourismMay 7, 201945-0-3[33]
DirectorDepartment of TransportationTim GatzMay 1, 2019TransportationMay 13, 201948-0-0[34]
DirectorOffice of Juvenile AffairsSteven BuckMay 1, 2019Health and Human ServicesMay 15, 201947-0-1[35]
DirectorDepartment of Human ServicesJustin BrownJune 4, 2019Senate confirmation pending[36]
Deputy Secretary of Public SafetyDepartment of CorrectionsTricia EverestJune 13, 2019Senate confirmation not required[37]
DirectorDepartment of CorrectionsScott CrowJune 14, 2019[42]Senate confirmation pending[38]
Deputy Secretary of HealthHealth Care AuthorityCarter KimbleJune 21, 2019Senate confirmation not required[39]
SecretaryGeneral Land OfficeA. Brandt VawterJuly 8, 2019Interim basis[40]
DirectorHealth Care AuthorityKevin CorbettAugust 5, 2019Senate confirmation pending[41]
Director of Workforce DevelopmentDepartment of CommerceDon MorrisAugust 12, 2019Senate confirmation not required[42]
CommissionerState Banking DepartmentMick ThompsonDecember 10, 2019[43]Senate confirmation pending[43]
Chief of the Highway PatrolDepartment of Public SafetyMichael HarrellJanuary 14, 2019[44]Senate confirmation not required
Brent SuggSeptember 11, 2019Senate confirmation not required[44]
DirectorState Bureau of InvestigastionRicky G. AdamsJanuary 14, 2019[45]Senate confirmation not required

Abortion

In April 2022, Stitt supported, and signed into law, SB 612, which makes performing an abortion a crime punishable by 10 years in prison or a $100,000 fine, with exceptions for medical emergencies but none for rape or incest.[46][47] The law will come into effect in summer 2022 unless blocked by a court ruling.[48] Later in May, Stitt signed into law an even more restrictive bill, House Bill 4327, “banning abortions from the stage of ‘fertilization’ and allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers who ‘knowingly’ perform or induce an abortion ‘on a pregnant woman.'” Abortion in cases of rape, incest, or high-risk pregnancies will continue to be permitted.[49] It is the most restrictive ban on elective abortion in the United States.[50][51] The ACLU announced that it would fight the ban in court.[52]

Capital punishment

Oklahoma has a long history with capital punishment, having conducted the third-most executions since the death penalty was reinstated in Gregg v. Georgia (1976).[53] But in 2015, a moratorium was placed on all state executions following the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April 2014 and the execution of Charles Warner by unauthorized methods in January 2015.[54] On February 13, 2020, Stitt announced that the moratorium would be lifted.[55] On November 18, 2021, Stitt commuted the death sentence of Julius Jones to life without the possibility of parole.[56]

Criminal justice and mass incarceration

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board

Three of the five Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board members are appointed by the governor. They serve four year terms that run concurrent with the governor’s.[57] Before Adam Luck and Kelley Doyle were pressured to resign from the Board in 2022, Stitt had expressed full confidence in the board over criticisms from District Attorneys like Steve Kunzweiler who want the board to be more conservative in their considerations for parole and commutation. The Tulsa World reported that the District Attorneys were taking an increasingly more political role that has “to some degree weakened” the board’s influence.[58] This came at the same time that dark money conservative advertisements targeting Stitt as not tough enough on crime began to air.[59] All of this plays out despite Oklahoma incarcerating a “higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth.”[60] According to Prison Policy Initiative, Oklahoma had the third-highest incarceration rate in 2021, and in 2018, it incarcerated the most women per capita.[61][62]

In 2022, Stitt at first agreed to grant parole to Jimmie Stohler after a recommendation from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, the Crossbow Killer, but later rescinded his decision.[63]

Findings in a 2022 grand jury report filed by David Prater criticized Stitt for being grossly improper, claimed that he pressured the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, and that his private meetings seem to have violated the Open Meetings Act.[64][65] DAs have the ability to bring grand juries.[66][67] When the report came out, Stitt’s office issued a statement saying, “This is the latest in a string of unfounded hit jobs by the Oklahoma County District Attorney and other political insiders.”[68] A spokesman for Stitt said, “Oklahoma law explicitly prohibits grand juries from making allegations that public officials have engaged in misconduct, and it is clear the outgoing prosecutor took advantage of the citizens who served on this grand jury to unwittingly carry out his partisan feud against Governor Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board.”[69] The report noted that the jury “had no legal authority to accuse the governor of official misconduct, which can only be done in impeachment proceedings.”[70] Later, Stitt “asked a judge to strike from a grand jury report a finding that he placed ‘improper political pressure’ on his appointees to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.”

Legislation

Stitt attempted to address the state’s overincarceration crisis. Beginning with the adoption of State Question 780 by Oklahoma voters in 2016, advocates for criminal justice reform sought additional measures. SQ780, which changed the classification of simple drug possession crimes from felony to misdemeanor and increased the cap for property crimes to be considered felonies, had already reduced the rate of felony prosecution statewide by 26% by 2018.[71] In May 2019, Stitt proposed several ideas, including making SQ780’s sentencing standards retroactive, prohibiting criminal records from being considered for professional licensing, and restructuring the funding scheme for the various district attorney offices.[72] The legislature made SQ780 retroactive by allowing parole for those convicted before SQ780 became effective and reforming professional licensing,[73] but did not approve bills to reform Oklahoma’s cash bail system.[74] In response to legislative defeats, Stitt issued an executive order to form a study group to make recommendations for future criminal justice reform for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, with particular emphasis on reducing Oklahoma’s incarceration rate.[75]

In mid-2018, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788, which legalized the licensed use, sale, and growth of marijuana for medical purposes. As a candidate, Stitt cited a need to implement the results of the election by enacting a comprehensive regulatory scheme.[76] After months of negotiation with legislative leaders, Stitt signed HB2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act. Also known as the “Marijuana Unity Bill”, HB2612 provided an extensive medical marijuana framework, including licensing requirements and rights for patients.[77]

Culture war

On May 7, 2021, Stitt signed a bill prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory or its gender equivalent in public schools.[78][79] The Oklahoman wrote that it was unclear whether critical race theory was taught at any Oklahoma public schools.[78] Opponents of the bill said it was intended to discourage nuanced discussions about race and whitewash the United States’ history on race.[78] Stitt invoked Martin Luther King Jr. when he signed the bill.[78]

In November, Stitt issued an executive order that prohibited transgender individuals from changing the gender on their birth certificates. In 2022, Stitt signed a bill into law that prohibited nonbinary gender markers on birth certificates. Stitt said that “people are created by God to be male or female. There is no such thing as nonbinary sex.” Transgender people criticized Stitt’s actions, saying it was difficult for trans individuals to navigate life when their official documents do not match their gender identity. According to the American Medical Association, “empirical evidence has demonstrated that trans and nonbinary gender identities are normal variations of human identity and expression.”[80]

On May 25, 2022, Stitt signed a bill into law that will require students at public charter schools and public schools to use locker rooms and bathrooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificate.[81]

Government reform

In his first state of the state address, Stitt called for increased appointment power over major state agencies. The legislature granted his request by adopting five new laws, giving him direct control over the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs, and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.[82] These agencies were previously under the control of multi-member boards or commissions that acted independently of the governor.

In exchange for additional appointment powers and at legislative leaders’ request, Stitt signed into law SB1, which established the Oklahoma Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency in the legislative branch. Under the direction of an oversight committee composed of members of the State Senate and House of Representatives, the office will provide auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the legislature relating to the governor’s proposed budget and expenditures by the executive branch.[83]

Guns

The first law Stitt signed after taking office permitted anyone 21 or older, or 18 if a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, to carry a firearm without obtaining a permit or completing training.[84] Stitt also signed HB2010, which expands the places a firearm may be carried to include municipal zoos and parks, regardless of size, as long as it is concealed.[85]

Healthcare

Stitt opposes Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma.[86] His refusal to expand the program resulted in the filing of an citizens’ initiative petition, State Question 802, to enact the expansion into the state constitution notwithstanding Stitt’s opposition.

Tribal relations

Under the authority of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, in 2004 Oklahoma voters approved State Question 712, which adopted the Oklahoma State-Tribal Gaming Act. Under the Act, the State of Oklahoma offers each federally recognized Indian tribe the right to conduct commercial gambling within its territory upon accepting the terms of a uniform state-tribal gaming compact. The compact allowed the compacting tribes to conduct gaming in return for “exclusivity fees” to the state treasury averaging 6% of gaming revenues.[87] The compact was scheduled to automatically renew on January 1, 2020.

In a July 2019 op-ed in the Tulsa World followed by a letter to the chiefs of 35 Oklahoma tribes, Stitt called on tribal leaders to renegotiate the terms of the compact before its expiration date.[88] In particular, he called for increasing the exclusivity fees to between 13% and 25%.[89] Stitt’s office maintained the compact is not subject to automatic renewal, a claim the tribes rejected, believing it will continue indefinitely unless changes are mutually agreed upon.[90][91] In either event, the Oklahoma Legislature would presumably have to be involved in any renegotiation, since the state’s compact offer is defined and controlled by state statute, and federal law requires that the United States Department of the Interior approve any new compact terms.[92]

In August 2019, the various tribes refused to meet with Stitt to negotiate the amount of the exclusivity fees unless he conceded that the compact would otherwise automatically renew.[93] Stitt had proposed a September 3 date to begin discussions but the tribes rejected it.

At the end of December 2019, the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw tribes filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to end the dispute over the compact.[94] On December 31, Stitt signed an extension to the hunting and fishing license compact with the Choctaw Nation, a previous point of contention.[95]

On July 28, 2020, U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti ruled in the tribes’ favor, holding that their compacts with the state automatically renewed for an additional 15-year term on January 1, 2020. A week earlier, on July 21, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the new gaming compacts signed by the state and the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe are invalid under state law. The Court ruled that Stitt “exceeded his authorities” in entering into the compacts because they would have allowed gaming that is illegal in Oklahoma, like sports betting.[96]

On July 9, 2020, the United States Supreme Court decided in McGirt v. Oklahoma that half of the land of the state of Oklahoma made up of tribal nations like the Cherokee are officially Native American tribal land jurisdictions.[97] Stitt, a Cherokee Nation citizen, sought to reverse the Supreme Court decision, but in 2021 Oklahoma could not block the federal action to grant the Cherokee Nation along with the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole Nations reservation status.[98]

Response to coronavirus outbreak

In March 2020, Stitt went out to restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic and posted a photo on Twitter of him doing so with two of his children.[99][100] He later deleted the tweet, and his spokesperson said, “the governor will continue to take his family out to dinner and to the grocery store without living in fear and encourages Oklahomans to do the same.”[101] President Trump said he did not advocate going out to eat but did not criticize Stitt.[102] In the tweet, Stitt wrote, “Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans … It’s packed tonight!” The photograph he posted with his kids showed them smiling while surrounded by restaurant patrons.[103] On June 20, Stitt attended the Trump rally in Tulsa, and was seen without wearing a mask.[104] On July 15, Stitt announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19.[105] He was the first United States governor diagnosed with COVID-19.[106]

In April 2020, Stitt ordered a massive purchase of hydroxychloroquine, a drug of unproven efficacy as a treatment against the coronavirus but which had been heavily promoted by Donald Trump and his allies.[107] By January 2021, Oklahoma had a $2 million stockpile of hydroxychloroquine which it sought to offload.[107]

On July 30, 2021, Oklahoma Watch released a review of Stitt’s Twitter since he received the COVID-19 vaccine and found he posted the least on social media to encourage vaccination of all the governors of states surrounding Oklahoma, including Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and New Mexico. Only 1.53%, or 3 out of 193, of Stitt’s tweets encouraged COVID-19 vaccination. It also found that Stitt had not used his Facebook account to encourage vaccination in months and that none of his last 45 press releases were about vaccination, at a time when Oklahoma had one of the highest COVID-19 test positivity rates in the country.[108]

Stitt sent U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a letter requesting that COVID-19 vaccine requirements for the Oklahoma National Guard be suspended.[109] Stitt subsequently fired the commander of the Oklahoma National Guard because the commander had advocated for his troops to be vaccinated.[110][109] Stitt’s new appointee refused to implement the COVID-19 vaccine requirements.[111][110]

Judicial reform and appointments

Stitt signed legislation reorganizing the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. Before the reforms, Supreme Court justices were appointed from nine separate districts representing various collections of counties. Under the legislation, as of 2020 the Court’s nine judicial districts were redrawn such that five were made coequal with the state’s five congressional districts and the other four are at large with the state as whole.[112] Similarly, the five judicial districts used to appoint judges to the Court of Criminal Appeals were made coequal with the congressional districts. The legislation left the method for appointing appellate judges via the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission unchanged. The reform’s ostensible purpose was to increase the pool of applicants to the appellate courts.

The governor of Oklahoma is responsible for making appointments to Oklahoma state courts upon a vacancy. Candidates for appointment are reviewed by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission, which forwards three names to the governor. The governor appoints one of the three without further confirmation. As of 2020, there are 29 appellate court judges (nine Supreme Court justices, five Court of Criminal Appeals judge, 12 Court of Civil Appeals judges, and three Court of Military Appeals judges) and 156 trial judges (75 district judges, 77 associate district judges, and four Workers Compensation Court judges) subject to the gubernatorial appointment process.

Appellate courts

#JudgePositionCourtDistrictFormer JudgeAppointment dateEnd of serviceSuccessor JudgeRef.
1M. John Kane IVJusticeSupreme Court2ndJohn F. ReifSeptember 17, 2019IncumbentIncumbent[45]
2Dustin RoweJusticeSupreme CourtAt-LargePatrick WyrickNovember 18, 2019IncumbentIncumbent[46]
3Daniel G. WebberJudgeMilitary Court of AppealsN/ANew PositionJune 3, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[47]
4Michelle L. KeelyJudgeMilitary Court of AppealsN/ANew PositionJune 3, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[48]
5Trevor PembertonJudgeCivil Appeals4stLarry JoplinAugust 24, 2020October 20, 2021TBD[49]
6Thomas E. PrinceJudgeCivil Appeals5thKenneth L. BuettnerJanuary 1, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[50]
7Stacie L. HixonJudgeCivil Appeals1stJerry L. GoodmanMarch 13, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[51]
8Gregory BlackwellJudgeCivil Appeals3rdP. Thomas ThornbrughJune 21, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[52]
9Dana KuehnJusticeSupreme Court1stTom ColbertJuly 26, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[53]
10William MussemanJudgeCriminal Appeals1stDana L. KuehnMarch 4, 2022IncumbentIncumbent[54]
11Tim DowningJudgeCivil Appeals4thTrevor PembertonMay 27, 2022IncumbentIncumbent[55]

Trial courts

#JudgePositionCountyDistrictFormer JudgeAppointment dateEnd of serviceSuccessor JudgeRef.
1Christine LarsonAssociate District JudgeCimarron1stRonald L. KincannonMarch 8, 2019IncumbentIncumbent[56]
2Timothy KingDistrict JudgeMuskogee15thMike NormanNovember 4, 2019IncumbentIncumbent[57]
3Laura FarrisAssociate District JudgeCreek24thMark IhrigJanuary 17, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[58]
4Erin KirkseyAssociate District JudgeWoodward4thDon WorkMarch 10, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[59]
5Shelia StinsonDistrict JudgeOklahoma7thLisa DavisJuly 17, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[60]
5Stuart TateDistrict JudgeOsage10thM. John Kane IVSeptember 16, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[61]
6Pandee RamirezDistrict JudgeOkmulgee24thKen AdairSeptember 17, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[62]
7James HuberDistrict JudgeTulsa14thLinda MorrisseyOctober 16, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[63]
8Michelle Lee Bondine KeelyDistrict JudgeTulsa14thJefferson SellersNovember 11, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[64]
9Bethany Eve StanleyAssociate District JudgeCleveland21stStephen W. BonnerNovember 23, 2020IncumbentIncumbent[65]
10Anthony BonnerDistrict JudgeOklahoma7thKendra ColemanApril 5, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[66]
11Kristina KirkpatraickDistrict JudgeOklahoma7thTrevor PembertonApril 5, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[67]
12Burl EstesAssociate District JudgeOsage10thStuart TateApril 7, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[68]
13Kaitlyn AllenDistrict JudgeOklahoma7thThomas E. PrinceAugust 9, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[69]
14Brent DishmanDistrict JudgeOklahoma7thTimothy HendersonOctober 11, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[70]
15Margaret NicholsonAssociate District JudgeLatimer16thWilliam WelchNovember 5, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[71]
16Susan NighAssociate District JudgeRogers12thKassie McCoyDecember 1, 2021IncumbentIncumbent[72]
17TBDDistrict JudgeTulsa14thWilliam MussemanTBD

Personal life

Stitt address his remarks during a roundtable discussion with Governors and small business owners on the reopening of America’s small businesses.

Stitt is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation through 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.[4] The legitimacy of his ancestry has been called into question.[113][114][115] Stitt’s maternal grandparents were dairy farmers in Skiatook. His paternal grandfather was the head veterinarian at the Oklahoma City Stockyards.[116]

Stitt married Sarah Hazen in 1998 and they have six children. The Stitts are active with the Woodlake Church in Tulsa.[117]

Electoral history

June 26, 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary[118]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Mick Cornett 132,806 29.3
Republican Kevin Stitt 110,479 24.4
RepublicanTodd Lamb107,98523.9
RepublicanDan Fisher35,8187.9
RepublicanGary Jones25,2435.6
RepublicanGary Richardson18,1854.0
RepublicanBlake Stephens12,2112.7
RepublicanChristopher Barnett5,2401.2
RepublicanBarry Gowdy2,3470.5
RepublicanEric Foutch2,2920.5
Total votes452,606 100.0
August 28, 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary runoff[119]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kevin Stitt 164,892 54.56
RepublicanMick Cornett137,31645.44
Total votes302,208 100.0
2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial election
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Kevin Stitt 644,579 54.33%
DemocraticDrew Edmondson500,97342.23%
LibertarianChris Powell40,8333.44%
Total votes1,186,385 100.0%
Republican hold

See also

References

  1. ^ “Twitter status”. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  2. ^ Krehbiel, Randy. “Businessman Kevin Stitt trying to close the deal on Republican gubernatorial nomination”. Tulsa World. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  3. ^ “Candidate Profile: Kevin Stitt (R-OK)”. United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c “Serious kid” sets sights on serving as chief executive of Oklahoma”. NewsOK.com. September 30, 2018. Archived from the original on November 26, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  5. ^ MortgageOrb, Zackin Publications Inc., July 25, 2018, Patrick Barnard, Kevin Stitt: The Proactive Approach to Compliance Always WinsArchived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ “Scott Gesell Named Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of Gateway First Bank”. www.businesswire.com. August 25, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  7. ^ Brewer, Kristina (August 3, 2018). “Gateway Mortgage Group Announces New CEO”. DSNews. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  8. ^ “Kevin Stitt Profile”. www.bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  9. ^ “Company Overview of Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC”. Bloomberg. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c “A Look At Cornett’s Past Comments” Oklahoman, August 19, 2018″. August 19, 2018. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  11. ^ The 15 Shadiest Mortgage Lenders Being Backed By The Government, Vincent Fernando, December 11, 2009Archived October 24, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b KWTV/News 9, Oklahoma, June 19, 2018Archived October 18, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ “Stitt’s Mortgage Firm Failed to Tell Regulators of Past Problems”. August 17, 2018. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Kevin Stitt to run for governor, Tulsa Beacon, “Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt announced his candidacy for governor in 2018. The first-time candidate
  15. ^ Real Clear Politics, By Erick Erickson, August 24, 2018, Collapse of the Career Politicians, “The prevailing consensus among political analysts in the United States about…” Archived 2018-08-25 at the Wayback Machine
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  42. ^ Corrections Director Scott Crow was named interim director on June 14, 2019 and nominated to the permanent post on December 6, 2019. [1]
  43. ^ State Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson was initially appointed in 1992 by Governor David Walters. He was subsequently reappointed in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020.
  44. ^ OHP Chief Michael Harrell was initially appointed in 2017 under Governor Mary Fallin. He was subsequently retained by Stitt.
  45. ^ OSBI Ricky Adams was initially appointed in 2018 under Governor Mary Fallin. He was subsequently retained by Stitt.
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  51. ^ “Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill That Bans Most Abortions”. New York Times. May 26, 2022.
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  55. ^ Matt Patterson (February 13, 2020). “Lethal announcement: Oklahoma to resume executions this year”. NonDoc Media.
  56. ^ Murphy, Sean (November 18, 2021). “EXPLAINER: Julius Jones’ execution is stopped, with clemency”. Associated Press. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  57. ^ “Stitt wants statement that he put ‘improper political pressure’ on Parole Board appointees stricken from grand jury report”. KPVI. May 25, 2022.
  58. ^ “Stitt expresses confidence in Pardon and Parole Board”. Tulsa World. December 5, 2021.
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  60. ^ “Oklahoma profile”. Prison Policy Initiative.
  61. ^ “States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2021”. Prison Policy.
  62. ^ Kajstura, Aleks. “States of Women’s Incarceration: The Global Context 2018”.
  63. ^ “Ex-Tulsa officer convicted in crossbow, poison arrow murder gets parole revoked”. KJRH. 2022.
  64. ^ “Grand jury criticizes Pardon and Parole Board, governor over commutations”. KPVI.
  65. ^ “Grand jury report criticizes Pardon and Parole board members, state leaders”. 2 News Oklahoma.
  66. ^ “Long Story Short: What’s Behind A Grand Jury’s Rebuke of the Governor, Pardon and Parole Board”. Oklahoma Watch. May 24, 2022.
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  71. ^ Gentzler, Ryan (February 19, 2018). “SQ 780 is already reshaping Oklahoma’s justice system”.
  72. ^ Haberock, Barbara (May 2, 2018). “Gov. Kevin Stitt rolls out new criminal justice reform package”.
  73. ^ Monies, Paul (April 29, 2019). “Oklahoma Watch: 5 questions answered on this year’s criminal justice reform bills”.
  74. ^ Chandler, Quinton (May 30, 2019). “Legislators leave criminal justice reform bills on the table as prison population grows”.
  75. ^ Office of Governor Stitt (May 20, 2019). “Governor Stitt issues Executive order to Create RESTORE Task Force”.
  76. ^ Skarky, Brent (July 26, 2018). “Gubernatorial candidates weigh in on medical marijuana debate”.
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  81. ^ Andy Rose and Paul LeBlanc. “Oklahoma GOP governor signs anti-transgender bathroom bill into law”. CNN. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
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  83. ^ Boles, Brad (May 26, 2019). “Legislature adjourns, Gov. Stitt signs budget”.
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  87. ^ National Public Radio. “Tribal Gaming”.
  88. ^ Forman, Carmen (July 10, 2019). “Stitt calls for renegotiating Oklahoma tribal gaming compacts”.
  89. ^ Stitt, Kevin (July 8, 2019). “Gov. Kevin Stitt: New gaming compacts must protect the interests of the tribes and the state”.
  90. ^ Forman, Carmen (July 13, 2019). “Oklahoma’s Five Tribes reject Stitt’s call to renegotiate gaming compacts”.
  91. ^ Hoberock, Barbara (July 28, 2019). “Legal expert says Stitt mistaken on tribal gaming fees assessment”.
  92. ^ Forman, Carmen (August 12, 2019). “Lawmakers urge collaboration in gaming compact negotiations”.
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  94. ^ Staff reports. “Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations file federal lawsuit to end compact renewal dispute”. Tulsa World. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  95. ^ “Update: Gov. Stitt signs 1-year extension for Choctaw Nation’s hunting, fishing compact”. KFOR.com. December 31, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  96. ^ Richards, Dillon (July 28, 2020). “Federal judge rules tribal gaming compacts automatically renewed at start of 2020”. KOCO. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  97. ^ Wamsley, Laurel (July 9, 2020). “Supreme Court Rules That About Half of Oklahoma is Native American Land”. NPR.
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