“We have to set a higher standard,” Governor-elect Kevin Stitt ready to take office

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Monday is the big day at the state capitol as Oklahoma will swear in a new governor for the first time in eight years.

Republican and Tulsa-based businessman Kevin Stitt will take the oath as the 28th chief executive in state history.

News 4's Brent Skarky had the chance to sit down with the governor-elect to talk about what to expect as he takes office.

"It's an important day for you, coming up - the inauguration. How excited are you?"

"I can't wait 'til it gets here. There has been a lot of planning, but it's going to be a great day. It's going to be a changing of the guard, so I'm excited to step in as Oklahoma's governor." 

"What can we expect to hear from you? What is going to be your message as you come into office?"

"That I was elected to bring a type of passion and set a new standard for Oklahoma. We're so tired of being at the bottom of all these categories and I don't believe that we have any different issues that they have in any other state. And so, I truly believe that we have what it takes to be a top 10 state. So, I hope to lay out that vision for Oklahoma in the inaugural address that we can have a fantastic future together." 

"They always talk about the first hundred days for an executive. What can we expect?"

"Well, you can expect number one, collaboration between House and Senate and me, setting a different tone to work together, digitally transform the way that we deliver services, more of a customer-focused government. You can expect us to focus on education, you can expect us to focus on government accountability in this first 100 days, really pushing through where the governor has the ability to hire and fire agency head. And that will be done in the first 100 days."

"Education was a big issue going into the election. There is bound to be a big teacher representation there [at the inauguration]. What is your message to education as you take office?"

"Number one, we have to set a higher standard. We have to focus on the children and get them ready for the workforce. We need to celebrate the profession of teachers, recruit the best teachers to our state, so I want to tweak and I want to make sure they get another raise. I think it's important, it's part of the job to make sure we pay our teachers market and the other states around us."

"With  the oil and gas prices going down, that, a couple years ago, indirectly led to what we saw with the teachers recently. That's got to be a hurdle for you stepping into office." 

"Revenue next year looks to be five, or 600 million dollars more. Now, that could change if oil prices continue to slide, but we have to learn how to save. So, when we do have hundred dollar oil, we have to make sure that we save it. We cannot just spend like we have an open checkbook just because we have more revenue. I've got to make sure we are fiscally responsible in case oil prices go down because we can't cut core services." 

Stitt is inviting all Oklahomans to the state capitol Monday.

"It's going to be good weather. I'm inviting people from all over the state, bring their kids and families. We're excited and hope that we pack the house and that everybody comes out to the state capitol at 11:30 a.m. on Monday." 

If you plan on attending the inauguration, click here for more information.

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