Oklahoma’s Turnaround

Alternative Headline: Why I voted for Kevin Stitt!

I had the opportunity to meet Kevin Stitt last spring. The story of how my family met Kevin is probably no more unique than the next persons, but it has been a pretty cool experience in politics from the sidelines and worth a post. Especially since my last post was nearly TWO YEARS AGO!!!

So here is how this happened…..My dad belongs to a group in Oklahoma City comprised of some CEO’s and businessmen who meet once a week to hear a speaker or learn about something of interest going on in the state. Each member is responsible for inviting a speaker and planning the meeting. When my dad’s turn rolled around in January of 2018, he asked me and the Senator if we had any ideas for a political figure since it was an election year. The Lt. Governor (who was running for Governor) and the Mayor of Oklahoma City (also running for Governor) had already addressed the group which narrowed the field of high profile choices somewhat.

In full honesty, I hadn’t much thought about the 2018 election cycle to be able to point him in the right direction, so I did a little research and stumbled upon a candidate in the Governor’s race who peaked my interest. There was a guy, originally from Norman, who went to college in Stillwater and was currently a successful businessman from Tulsa… an outsider to politics. The more I read about him, the more I liked and encouraged my dad to reach out to his campaign with an invitation to speak. So he did.

As you might imagine, not many people had heard of this candidate and most people in my dad’s business club had already hitched their wagon to someone else’s gubernatorial campaign. Stitt was not familiar with government or politics and like many Oklahomans, hadn’t even voted in recent elections much less been involved in the political process. I am sure that didn’t go over well with my dad’s business club….or maybe it did, because this Stitt guy from Tulsa was in the Governor’s race for ALL the right reasons.

Kevin came to speak at that early January meeting and then circled back to speak at another meet and greet my mom and dad enthusiastically hosted in their home.

At my mom and dad’s meet and greet.

He talked about making Oklahoma a top ten state in everything from education and infastructure to addressing our incredibly high incarceration rates. What made Kevin different from other candidates (who also talked about those very same topics), aside from not being a career politician, was his realization that the state needs to make some structural changes in the way we do business. (Can we get an Amen!!!)

From that point forward, the Senator and I were ALL IN – in terms of helping Kevin get elected. Our state was in desperate need of structural change and new ideas. Being slightly familiar with the political scene (said ever so smugly), we were convinced he had the right vision, business acumen and leaderhsip for moving our state forward. We also knew that more people needed to hear his message!! The Senator and I sent out letters to friends and extended friends, held two fundraising events in our home, waived signs by polling stations and kept both Kevin, Sarah and their six kids in our prayers. Politics is rough and this guy needed a full suit of armor and support.

First fundraiser in our home.

Second Fundraiser in our home.

Campaigning on campus….is that legal!!?
Meeting the VP….pretty cool opportunity!

Fast forward to today and the official inauguration of Oklahoma’s 28th Governor, Kevin Stitt. Incidentally, the sun is shining. Energy, optimism and hope are abundant. Oklahoma’s turnaround has commenced.


Famous Friends

When your oldest and dearest friend gets inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, you have no choice but to get all dressed up and go watch!

Such a well deserved accolade for my famous BFF. Despite being a celebrity and constantly in the public eye, she is oh, so humble. I am honestly surprised (but thrilled) she accepted the recognition. All of Oklahoma, but especially the town of Pawhuska, are proud and honored to call you friend!

 

 

Sea Life and Senators

Roughly ten years ago, my Senator had an opportunity to attend a conference in Puerto Rico, and the kids and I tagged along because, well who wouldn’t want to go to Puerto Rico, right?

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Coincidentally, I had met a lovely mom friend through American Mothers from Puerto Rico and she was kind enough to show us some of the beautiful sights including the Capitol building in San Juan… which the Senator loved.

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And the famous fort…

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The look on my baby’s face!  Oh my goodness…dsc_0213

Pretending to be a pirate on the island did not get any better than this…but I digress!dsc_0217

There were lots of elected officials at this conference including our Governor.  And, let me tell you, it makes for an interesting evening when you find yourself hanging out in the hotel hot tub with the Governor of your great state, who incidentally had just vetoed your Senator’s lawsuit reform bill the day before. It’s a good thing my Senator and the Governor had been in college together so the hot tub small talk wasn’t too awkward…or, maybe it was, but it took place amidst a beautiful setting and sunset so there’s that.

The beach at this resort was just as magnificent.

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I have never seen such clear water that provided a window into the sea life swimming below the surface.  In fact, the entire reason for reminiscing about this fabulous trip has to do with sea life and a senator…

You see, on this same trip, our family was playing on the beach one afternoon alongside many other conference attendees. We were like kids in a candy store because the beach was simply that gorgeous.

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All of the sudden, we noticed a crowd gathering in the ocean and members of the hotel staff running onto the beach. Wondering what was happening and if someone needed help, my Senator headed over to the scene.

Evidently, the Governor of West Virginia had stepped on a black sea urchin and the group was attempting to clean his foot.  According to the hotel staff, you had two options to remove the poisonous needle and sterilize the area – you could either pour urine on it or whiskey.  Needless to say, the Governor chose whiskey and was letting everyone on the beach know the same!  At the time, I remember thinking this guy was quite a character and down right hilarious! His name was Joe Manchin.

In case you don’t make a habit of following politics – Joe Manchin is now the senior Senator from West Virginia and earlier today, I caught a glimpse of him on TV talking about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.  His rational talking points and calm demeanor resembled those of a desperately needed statesman…let’s hope that ship hasn’t sailed.

This morning, I found myself wishing we had more elected officials like him….and a beach like this….

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