Kevin Stitt is a self-described outsider, but he is not acting like it.
Stitt is running for Governor as a Conservative Republican. The outsider label comes from political acumen, which is zero.
Stitt, Norman native and Oklahoma State University graduate who lives in Tulsa, built Gateway Mortgage Group with “only $1,000 and a computer.” The company now employs over 1,100 people and has 145 offices nationwide.
Stitt is trying to parlay his business record into a successful run for governor. To get his name out there, he has dedicated all but one day per month to his campaign. By month’s end, he will have visited all 77 counties in the state.
“They don’t give this thing away,” Stitt said. “You gotta work for it.”
Stitt, who would go tieless if given the choice, decided to run for governor because concerns for Oklahoma’s direction.
“I feel an obligation to get involved,” Stitt said. “I never ran for anything. It is going to take something different. If everything was going great, I don’t think i would be involved. I got so tired of the gridlock and career politicians. It is going to take a fresher approach and people focused on the next generation, not the next election.”
Stitt’s goals center on economic prosperity, education, infrastructure, health and common sense efficiency. He wants Oklahoma to be a top-10 state in those categories as well as competitive with the six states surrounding Oklahoma.
Stitt wants to invest in teachers in Oklahoma. He wants to look at criminal justice reforms that revolves around fair sentencing and structure when someone leaves incarceration. He wants to appoint the right agency heads to do the job more effectively, and use certain metrics to ensure efficiency within each department.
In Stitt’s opinion, Oklahoma shouldn’t be economically beholden to one industry. He wants to encourage multiple business to settle in Oklahoma.
Stitt said he won’t own anybody or any special interest group anything should he win the race. The governor’s job is to be the leader that helps the state grow, which is why he jumped in the deep end rather that started out as a senator or a city councilor.
“I think real change can happen at governor level,” Stitt said.
Perhaps as important as his policy positions, Stitt is confident. He is raising money at a high rate, for he out-fundraised Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb in the second last quarter of 2017. Stitt is trying to form relationships, calling State House members to lay the foundation for a working relationship.
“Why would I do this?” Stitt said. “It is so hard to do. Sometimes I feel guilty with missing time with my six kids. It weighs on you. I should be coaching little league baseball. But I feel it is something I was called to do. The future doesn’t just happen. You make your future.”