Governor Stitt

Stitt Seeks Audit Of State Education Department

5 hours ago
Facebook / Superintendent Joy Hofmeister

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday that he has requested an audit of the state Department of Education.

The request came after an audit last year of Epic Charter Schools revealed that tens of millions of dollars were diverted into a for-profit business controlled by the school system’s two founders and its chief financial officer, Stitt said.

Epic officials have denied wrongdoing.

Oklahoma House Democrats

Democratic members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday announced proposed legislation to limit certain powers of the governor related to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, following Gov. Kevin Stitt's abrupt and still-unexplained removal of the only two physicians on its governing board earlier this month.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The office of Gov. Kevin Stitt Tuesday again declined to answer the question of why the governor removed the only two physicians from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority board earlier this month.

Stitt Announces Another Resignation

Sep 7, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — David Ostrowe is resigning as Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Digital Transformation and Administration secretary, Stitt’s office announced late Friday.

Stitt said in a statement that he had accepted the resignation of Ostrowe, who “will focus on his successful restaurant management business and pursue other personal interests.”

Ostrowe’s resignation takes effect Sept. 7.

Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. emphasized his commitment to achieving "complete sovereignty" in his annual State of the Nation address on Saturday.

Oklahoma's Ban On School Mask Mandates Is On Hold. Here's What You Need To Know

Sep 1, 2021
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s law preventing schools from mandating masks is temporarily on hold due to a judge’s ruling Wednesday morning. 

The Muscogee Nation has issued a rebuttal to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s latest comments against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last July in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

At a Tulsa Chamber event Thursday, Stitt said the ruling that Oklahoma for more than a century wrongly asserted criminal jurisdiction over tribal citizens on tribal lands "remains a threat" to the state and is the most pressing issue for Oklahoma.

Hall-Estill

The Oklahoma Attorney General said Thursday his office will move as quickly as it can to block public school mask requirements that are in violation of a state law enacted this year.

Attorney General John O’Connor said legal action could come as soon as next week.

"I think we'll probably have to ask for injunctive relief early in the lawsuit so that the schools have guidance. My basic position is that we can trust the parents. Somehow, we've sort of abandoned the notion that the parents are in the best position to protect their kids," O'Connor said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Gov. Kevin Stitt spent time touting business wins and attacking President Joe Biden in a speech Thursday to Tulsa business leaders, but he only briefly touched on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber State of the State at the Cox Business Convention Center was billed as a discussion of the Stitt administration's "support of economic development and efforts to address and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic."

Google Maps Street View

An Oklahoma City Public Schools middle school student has died of COVID-19, officials announced Thursday.

"OKCPS is saddened to learn of the passing of Clarence Johnson, III, who was enrolled to begin 8th grade at Mary Golda Ross Middle School after attending Roosevelt Middle School last year," the district said in a statement. "Crisis counseling is available to students and staff. We will keep his family and friends in our thoughts during this very difficult time."

Stitt Criticizes School, Biden Over Masking

Aug 20, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is criticizing both a northeast Oklahoma school district that adopted a mask mandate and President Joe Biden over comments that the state’s school mask mandate ban may violate a coronavirus aid package for schools.

The Republican governor and state Attorney General John O’Connor released a joint statement Thursday criticizing the Hulbert school district for its mask requirement.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Two prominent Republican voices in Oklahoma said Wednesday the state should and will welcome Afghan refugees who assisted the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and are now seeking safety from the new Taliban government. 

"Governor Stitt welcomes Afghans fleeing the terrorist Taliban regime to come to Oklahoma and live in the freedom we hold so dearly," Stitt spokeswoman Carly Atchison said in a statement. "Our office is exploring every possible avenue to help to ensure no American citizen nor any of our allies are left behind."

The White House

StateImpact Oklahoma obtained a copy of a letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to Okla. Gov. Kevin Stitt and Okla. Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. Read it here.

Office of Gov. Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday assailed President Joe Biden and his administration for upheaval in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban.

In a video message to Oklahomans from his desk at the state Capitol, Stitt said the "blame for the unmitigated disaster unfolding in Afghanistan ultimately lies with President Biden."

Oklahoma State Medical Association

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Parents of schoolchildren joined the Oklahoma State Medical Association on Thursday in filing a lawsuit seeking to overturn a state law banning mask requirements in public schools.

“This is not a political stance; it is about public health and common sense,” medical association President Dr. Mary Clarke said in a statement. “If schools can send students home for a lice infection, they should have the latitude and ability to issue a mask mandate.”

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

A group of 29 higher education organizations issued a statement calling for a reversal of state-level policies in places like Oklahoma that legally restrict how colleges and universities can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oklahoma City Public Schools

With schools across Oklahoma beginning to welcome students back to the classroom amid a state- and region-wide surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Gov. Kevin Stitt's office said Tuesday morning his position has not changed regarding a legal prohibition on public school districts from requiring masks.

The White House

Addressing reporters from the White House Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden pleaded with governors of states, like Oklahoma, that have prohibited schools from requiring masks to mitigate COVID-19 to do more to help the nation in its fight against the coronavirus. 

"As of now, seven states not only ban mask mandates, but also ban them in their school districts, even for young children who cannot get vaccinated," Biden said. "Some states have even banned businesses and universities from requiring workers and students to be masked or vaccinated...  What are we doing?"

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Just over four months ago, with the TV cameras running, Gov. Kevin Stitt sat down to get his single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from a state health department nurse.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

Gov. Kevin Stitt remains in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, on a week-long trip his office said was meant to strengthen "strategic partnerships" between the nation and the state of Oklahoma.

"I started my day in Azerbaijan with a tour of Baku’s Old City and sampled some local caviar before heading to some very productive meetings with our Oklahoma delegation and our Azerbaijani counterparts. More to come soon!" Stitt tweeted Wednesday. 

Stitt Appoints Tulsa Judge To Oklahoma Supreme Court

Jul 27, 2021
Stuart Ostler / Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday chose a Tulsa woman to fill an Oklahoma Supreme Court vacancy, marking for the first time in decades that most of the nine court members were Republican appointees.

In a statement, Stitt said Judge Dana Kuehn of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals would fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring Justice Tom Colbert.

Office of Gov. Kevin Stitt

Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) is a long way from home this week, as his office announced Monday morning he had landed in Baku, Azerbaijan, for a week-long trip to "promote and expand Oklahoma’s strategic partnerships with Azerbaijan."

The Southern Caucuses nation on the Caspian Sea has an oil-and-gas economy bolstered by tourism and agribusiness, all sectors Oklahoma is long-established in or aiming to grow. 

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday that despite climbing COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma amid spread of the more-transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus, he has no plans to declare a public health emergency, one of the necessary steps under a new state law that would allow schools to require students wear masks upon their return to the classroom next month.

"This is about personal responsibility, this is about freedoms," Stitt said, echoing the messaging he has leaned on throughout the pandemic.  

Gov. Kevin Stitt's office

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior over the federal agency’s plan to strip Oklahoma of its jurisdiction to regulate coal mining on tribal reservations, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday.

The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Oklahoma City, names as defendants U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and that agency’s acting director, Glenda Owens.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt departed Tulsa's Cox Business Convention Center almost an hour earlier than scheduled last night, as attendees at an event meant to discuss Tribal sovereignty and criminal jurisdiction in the light of last year's McGirt v. Oklahoma Supreme Court decision jeered the panel's lack of Native representation and lack of opportunity for the public to directly ask questions at a forum billed as including a Q-and-A. 

Stitt Taps Former Company Executive As Oklahoma COO

Jul 13, 2021
OMES

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Tuesday he’s named an executive from his former company to serve as the state’s chief operating officer.

Steven Harpe, who previously worked as chief information officer at Stitt’s Gateway Mortgage Group, will continue in his current role as director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and as deputy secretary of digital transformation and administration.

As COO, Harpe replaces John Budd, a former Sonic Corp. executive who stepped down from his role as Stitt’s COO earlier this month.

Several Oklahomans are suing over Gov. Kevin Stitt’s decision to end additional federal unemployment benefits late last month, alleging he overstepped his authority and violated federal law

Stitt announced in May the extra $300 a week covered by federal coronavirus relief funding would stop June 26 and be repurposed for a back-to-work incentive.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has scheduled a referee hearing for Aug. 11 in one of the lawsuits. The governor's office said they can't comment on pending litigation.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

Gov. Kevin Stitt traveled to Dallas over the weekend to participate in a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.

The 2021 theme was "America Uncanceled," and Stitt took part in a panel discussion with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on leadership, justice and jobs in the age of "wokeism."

American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp moderated and presented criminal justice reform as a conservative endeavor, whereas liberals want to defund police.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has reportedly lured another City of Tulsa employee to his office.

City Coronavirus Relief Funds Program Manager Clay Holk will serve as director of a state grant management office, overseeing federal funds for pandemic response and expanding economic opportunity in Oklahoma.

Mayor G.T. Bynum confirmed Holk's departure on Friday. He praised Holk's work at the city to manage a record level of federal funding.

Stitt's Chief Operating Officer To Step Down

Jun 3, 2021
Sonic

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that his chief operating officer, John Budd, will step down effective July 2.

Budd was the state’s first COO and a member of Stitt’s cabinet since he took office.

With the legislative session having just wrapped up, Budd said it was a “good time for me to move on to my next journey.”

Before joining the Stitt administration, Budd was chief strategy and business development officer for Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp.

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