OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — On June 26th, Oklahomans will have a chance to go to the polls to pick who they want to represent their party in the gubernatorial election. FOX 25 is profiling the major candidates in all three parties that will appear on the ballot.
Before the gubernatorial election, Kevin Stitt was someone few Oklahomans had ever heard of before; He is changing that as he continues to rise in the polls.
Stitt hopes his status as a political outsider will attract voters who are fed up with what happens at the capitol. He told FOX 25 he is running because he wanted to be the change the state needs.
“It’s just more of the same, it’s just the career politicians running for their next election, so I don’t think anything is going to change if we keep electing the same people; I think we’ll be in the same situation eight years from now,” Stitt said.
Stitt is a businessman who founded Gateway Mortgage, a company that has expanded to more than 40 states.
“I just show people that I’m just a different type of a person, I’m a business person and, yes, I’m conservative and I’m a Republican because I started my company with a thousand dollars and a computer and I believe in individual freedoms and I believe that people should choose where they want to work,” Stitt told FOX 25.
Stitt said the solutions to Oklahoma problems are not hidden but the state needs someone committed to solving those problems.
“We run 120 different agencies, it is $22 billion, we don’t have any different issues than they have in Texas and in Arkansas and Colorado so why are we 48th in every single category and number one in female incarceration?” Stitt asked.
Stitt believes the governor should be less politician and more Chief Executive.
“There’s 120 different agencies and we’re hiring an executive that’s never hired anybody or set strategy or put performance metrics in place,” Stitt said.
On topics like education, Stitt supports broad reform of the system to better know where tax dollars are going.
“When we saw the teacher strike, the teacher walkout, my heart breaks for the teachers we have to pay them, like I said before, what market is, but it takes leadership,” Stitt said of the education funding crisis and the political standoff that created the conditions for the walkout. “Nobody was negotiating nobody was working together the house passed a $420 million increase in education funding from one year to the next but they still walked out because there is no leadership.”
However, in contrast to what was approved Stitt said the state should fix its spending issues before approving new taxes.
“I am not for any new taxes. We first have to get reform,” Stitt said. “There’s two sides to an income statement and some people just bang on revenue, revenue, revenue and in business we look at revenue and we look at expenses, but the last thing I’m going to do is pour more water into a bucket if there’s holes in it, I have to plug the holes first.”
Stitt said his business experience will allow him to create a long-term plan for Oklahoma and he believes he can fight the bad deals and unintended consequences Oklahoma has suffered from for too long.
“You’re finally going to have a governor for Oklahoma that is focused on moving all four million Oklahomans forward ten years from now,” Stitt said.