Stitt Celebrates Transgender Athlete Bill, Asks for State Money from Christian Schools, Interests in McGirt with Tulsa-area Republicans | Government and politics
Speaking to area Republicans on Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt nailed a second term for himself and the downvote “ticket” election in step with him.
He said his favorite bill from this year’s legislative session was the one banning transgender female athletes from playing women’s sports.
“I was interviewed by The Washington Post right after I signed it, and they said, ‘Governor, you signed this controversial bill.’ I said, “First of all, it’s not that controversial in Oklahoma,” Stitt said hours before what was expected to be a busy meeting of the Tulsa Public Schools Board on LGBTQ issues.
Speaking to the Republican Women’s Club South Tulsa United, Stitt praised state education secretary and candidate for state superintendent Ryan Walters, who exchanged fiery letters with the Tulsa school board about the matter, as well only with Attorney General John O’Connor and the limited-time state representative. and Labor Commissioner candidate Sean Roberts.
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Roberts and Walters were present at Monday’s meeting; O’Connor was not.
Also in attendance was state superintendent candidate John Cox, who is not endorsed by Stitt.
All are registered for the Republican primary on January 28.
As governor, Stitt advocated forcefully for greater executive control of state government. He got the legislature to dismantle several independent boards and commissions and give the governor direct appointing power over those agency heads.
Stitt outlined his approach Monday in explaining his support for Walters.
“In most states, the governor appoints the state superintendent,” he said. “I was elected governor and was told, ‘Hey, go fix this.’ That’s why I’m so high on Secretary Walters.
Separately, Stitt touted sending state education dollars “with” students, whether they transfer to other public or private schools.
“I’m convinced…we won’t move up the ladder unless we inject more charter schools, more Christian schools,” he said.
Stitt likened opponents of such plans to segregation-era officials blocking black children from all-white public schools.
The governor reiterated his call for legislative action to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries, which he says is one of the most regressive taxes, and to reduce the tax on state income by 0.25 percentage points.
That, he said, would put Oklahoma’s highest tax rate among the 10 lowest in the nation for states with income tax.
Stitt reiterated his objections to the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which dramatically changed the criminal jurisdictions in much of eastern Oklahoma.
Among other issues, Stitt fears the ruling could be extended to other areas such as civil law and state tax authority.
He repeated his claim that the ruling creates unequal justice based on race, though most tribes in Oklahoma say they see it as a matter of law.
Towards the end, in response to a question, Stitt urged those present to lobby political candidates on the issue.
“It’s a binary decision,” he said. “You are either for the state or for six different (tribal) jurisdictions. … You should let them know you support Kevin Stitt.