People like round numbers, and today marks 100 days in office for Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. In celebration, the political newcomer’s staff released a report of accomplishments and a brief letter from the governor that offers insight into his term so far.
“Some people warned me that I would get frustrated at the slow pace of government. They were right; I have,” Stitt said in the report. “But I have not let it slow me down, because you demanded a change in how we do business at the State Capitol. As your governor, I am committed to delivering a customer-centered government that is efficient and focused on delivering measurable outcomes with your hard-earned tax dollars.”
“We are shaking up business as usual in state government by reforming five of the 12 largest agencies so state agency leaders are forced to answer to the executive branch and to the will of the people,” Stitt wrote. “We have already identified and gone after several companies in high-taxed states to recruit their quality jobs to Oklahoma and grow our state. We have continued listening to you and stayed engaged in communities across the state, participating as a cabinet in more than 294 site visits in the administration’s first 100 days.”
Lawmakers appreciate Stitt’s attitude, communication
Asked their thoughts on Stitt during his first 100 days in office, legislators from both chambers offered positive reviews.
“He kicks ass,” said Sen. Chris Kidd (R-Addington). “I think he’s a team player. That’s the attitude here. The overall attitude is good.”
Kidd said he feels positivity in the building from Republicans and Democrats.
“In terms of his leadership, I would say that I’ve been impressed. It’s refreshing to have a higher level of communication from the governor’s office,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman). “I think almost my entire caucus has been to breakfast at the governor’s mansion for just a ‘get to know you’ type of conversation, which I think is helpful for relationship building here at the Capitol.”
House Majority Whip Terry O’Donnell (R-Catoosa) also spoke of positive relationships developed by Stitt, calling him an “energetic, optimistic leader.”
“It’s been refreshing with him in the Capitol,” O’Donnell said. “I think he’s doing as well as he can.”
O’Donnell noted that “a couple of his priorities are stalled a little bit,” including a teacher pay raise.
“But his first 100 days have been very strong in my estimation,” O’Donnell said.
In terms of policy, however, Virgin disagreed.
“I would say that this administration and this Legislature working with him has been just as extreme as we’ve seen in the past,” Virgin said. “I think we were all sort of promised a more moderate Capitol building on all floors — on the second floor and the fourth floor — and we just haven’t seen that yet.”
She referenced permitless carry of firearms and greater consolidation of power for the governor.
“Those policies are things that have been floating around this building for a while and cooler heads prevailed, but they sailed through this year,” Virgin said.
Stitt was inaugurated Jan. 14 on the front steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol. On Jan. 24, he issued his first four executive orders, which ranged from directing the sale of a state plane to requiring agencies to report on whether they hire contract lobbyists.
Stitt was elected Nov. 6, 2018, after receiving 54.3 percent of the vote against Democrat Drew Edmondson and Libertarian Chris Powell. A businessman who founded Gateway Mortgage, Stitt had never held elected office prior to becoming governor.