OKLAHOMA CITY - Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt stopped by News 4 Wednesday morning following his victory in the race for governor Tuesday night.
Why do you think so many people were energized to go out and vote this time around?
"You know, I think people were just ready for change. They were ready for an outsider. They were tired of the political establishment and I think that's why we won and that's why people were coming out, because we have been underperforming. We have a fantastic state. We don't have any different issues than they have in any other state around us, and I think that's why they bought into the vision that we can be a top 10 state."
"You mentioned in your victory speech last night, 'It's time to fix a broken government.' What will be your first step in doing that?"
"Well, you know, we don't have any transparency, there's no accountability, there's really no good budget process in what we're used to in a private sector. We've gotta get accountability right and that's about streamlining and making sure that the governor has the authority to hold the agency heads accountable. At the end of the day, this is about delivering services for Oklahomans in our health care system, in our education system, in our roads and bridges. And that's what I'll do as governor."
What is going to be the first top priority when you go to the state capitol? What are you going to tackle first?
"Well, really, it starts today. I'll be reaching out to the different leaders today. We're working on transition because from now until January 14, on Inauguration Day, it is a short window. So, we have gotta start putting a plan together now. I've gotta reach out to the house, senate members. We've gotta start getting our legislative agenda for this first session in place. But this is what I do my whole career. I'm looking forward to the governing phase of this versus just the election phase. So, first item of business is going to be to structurally change the way that we hold our agencies accountable."
How will classrooms be funded?
"You know, I want our teachers to know that instead of administration, education is going to be a top priority. Last year, the legislature passed a historic pay increase for the teachers. Brought them Number 2 in the region. My education plan is to continue that. We're not gonna look backwards, we're gonna continue to fund education. I think we need to streamline our funding formula. We need to make sure that we get dollars into our classrooms. We need to focus on class size. But also, it's more about than just common ed, it's career techs and higher ed. How are we getting our kids ready for the work force? The other thing that I like to remind people, we've got to grow our economy. We've got to be focused on new job creators, new jobs, and expand that tax base. That's gonna help everybody grow and I'll be focused on that as governor."
Are you planning on diversifying basically different industries as well in that?
"100 percent. We've gotta expand commerce. We've got to diversify. We're so fortunate to have the natural resources of oil and gas and the agriculture industry, but I can look at other states that don't have our natural resources, but they have automobile industry. We are prime for aviation, we have a great manufacturing opportunity. We've got all the land, the natural resources. We have the best location of any state. Our utility prices are a strategic advantage. So as governor, I know how to talk to CEOs, I know how to get the economy going and I'll be focused on that on day one."
Have you spoken to your opponent, Drew Edmondson, since winning last night?
"Last night he called me and it was a fantastic call. He was very gracious on the phone and congratulated us on winning a tough race and a hard race. And I congratulated him on being a great opponent. But we also talked about it's time to move forward. It's time to set aside republican or democrat or rural versus urban, and let's really set the vision for all four million Oklahomans because we can do better in our state and open up the prosperity for all four million Oklahomans."