Stitt Sets Tone Of Unity, Cooperation In Address


Tuesday, January 15th 2019, 8:06 am
By: Grant Hermes


Inaugural addresses are used to set the tone for a leader's term in office. On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt struck a tone of unity, collaboration and cooperation.

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The speech itself was relatively short, running just about 15 minutes, possibly emblematic of Stitt's self-described get-down-to-business mindset. Because it was his first address, it was a way for Stitt to reintroduce himself to his voters and a way to rebrand himself as a leader for those who didn't vote for him.

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Stitt told Oklahomans he'd work to create transparency and accountability within state government, a core promise that helped get him elected. He also touched on education and continuing work done by his predecessor former Gov. Mary Fallin on criminal justice reform.

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It was the promise to bring people together, however, which was woven throughout the speech, that was the overarching message. Bringing together not just Democrats and Republicans but also lawmakers, communities and Oklahomans as a whole, in the midst of a time many claim is one of the most divided in history.

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“Are we ready to look each other in the eyes and honestly say we've got this. We can do this together,” Stitt said in his address. “But for us to be successful I need you to join me. State government is not the answer to all of our problems. We must get involved in our schools, in our churches in our neighborhoods, in our local non-profits, to diagnose and solve the unique challenges we face county by county.

The address was noticeably without major policy initiatives or directives. Stitt's staff says they're saving those for the state of the state in just three weeks which will be one of the most important speeches in his political career, so far.

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