Gubernatorial Candidate Kevin Stitt Says Ag will Always have a Seat at the Table in His AdministrationWed, 25 Jul 2018 13:07:54 CDT
At the organization’s 66th Annual Convention and Trade Show this past week, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association hosted both GOP candidates in this year’s gubernatorial race for Oklahoma, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa businessman, Kevin Stitt, during an open forum to discuss their views on state politics and how they would tackle issues as the next Governor of Oklahoma. This week, Candidate Stitt joined Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays in-studio to discuss further his vision for Oklahoma. You can listen to their complete discussion by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Stitt grew up in Norman, Okla., though his family has always been rooted in agriculture. One of Stitt’s grandfathers was actually the head veterinarian here at the Oklahoma City Stockyards where the ROAN studios are, for 25 years. His other grandfather worked as a dairy farmer in Skiatook, Okla. throughout his life and his own father, a pastor, also runs a cow/calf operation. Stitt himself lives outside of Tulsa on a 115-acre hobby-farm, a decision he and his wife of 20 years, Sarah, made with regard to the way in which they wanted to raise their six children. Stitt in his youth attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla. and later would go on to start his own business with just $1,000 and a computer. Today, 18 years later, that business has grown substantially and now employs 1,200 people in 165 offices across the country. He credits his success with the understanding that in order to accomplish great things, he would need to hire people smarter than himself. As Governor, Stitt says that will continue to be his strategy to bring prosperity to Oklahoma and its citizens.
“Look at the job description for Governor… you’re hiring a chief executive officer to run a $22 billion budget, hires the right people, sets the vision, develops the strategy and gets the legislature moving in the right direction,” Stitt said. “That’s what I’ve been doing my whole career - holding people accountable, creating transparency in the different departments of my company. It’s the same principles that it takes to lead state government. That’s why I’m the right guy.”
Stitt confided about his amazement travelling around the state, meeting with voters and various groups of stakeholders. His amazement, stemming from the reaction of locals who tell him they have never before witnessed a candidate, much less an actual governor, visit them in their small rural towns. But, when it comes to getting things done, Stitt says his decision-making process will be completely inclusive and representative of all Oklahomans, both rural and urban. On all issues, he says he will rely on the input of Oklahoma’s agricultural community, its rural leaders and industry resources.
“I’m going to continue to do what I’ve done before. I’ve been to all 77 counties and I love getting out and meeting people,” he said. “It’s the way I lead my company and I love the relationships I get to build. I tell people I’m going to be the Governor for all four-million Oklahomans, all 77 counties. So, I’m going to work with Farm Bureau and AFR and the Cattlemen’s Association… I’ve been reaching out to those groups since Day 1 to learn the issues. They’ll have a seat at the table when I fill positions.”
As a problem solver and a proven entrepreneur, it is Stitt’s belief that matters of state government are far too often overcomplicated by career politicians, who he says are constantly burdened with how their decisions and actions will be judged - always worried about their next job or re-election. Stitt says as a first-time political candidate, he holds no loyalties to anyone other than the voters themselves and promises that his administration will work with the state’s best interests at heart throughout his tenure.
“I believe we have to have an independent governor, somebody thinking about moving the whole team forward. That’s the kind of governor I’m going to be,” he said. “We love our shot with the run-off. We believe we’re going to win that. We would love to get into the General Election with Drew (Edmondson). Especially, in the rural areas. The things he’s done, campaigning against 777 - and Mick did the same thing - those are the things that don’t play well in rural areas. I’m an ag guy. I understand it. I understand the way of life.”
Editor’s Note: Prior to this interview, the Stitt campaign launched a new section on its website featuring the “Farmers & Ranchers for Stitt” committee and his policy commitments. For more information on Stitt’s position regarding rural and agricultural affairs in the state, click here, to visit this page on his website.
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