Listen in as Clay asks him about his vision for the state’s future and what it’s like to run for governor.
In the news:
Ladies and gentlemen, forget the politics for just a moment, and marinate on this for a second. Today’s guest, Kevin Stitt is an Oklahoman entrepreneur and businessman who founded his company Gateway Mortgage in 2000 with just $1,000 and a computer. By delivering strong leadership and vision, Stitt has been able to grow Gateway into a nationwide mortgage company that today employs a total of 1,200 people. The company now has 164 field offices in 41 states, and holds a loan servicing portfolio of more than $16 billion. My friend’s, Kevin Stitt is a successful business owner who is focused on running the state of Oklahoma successfully as well.
Kevin Stitt focused on putting Oklahoma’s checkbook online, applying performance metrics to government and to actually auditing every state agency.
MYSTIC STATISTIC – Healthcare costs under Obamcare – https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2016/07/28/overwhelming-evidence-that-obamacare-caused-premiums-to-increase-substantially/#285d037415be
Learn more About Kevin Stitt at the following website
All right, thrive nation. Welcome back to the conversation is the thrive time show on your radio and podcast download now. Today we’re talking about building a $16,000,000,000 loan servicing portfolio and then deciding you want to run for governor and a because I only know one man qualified to even talk about this subject. We thought we would interview the man with the plan and the man who would like to be the next governor for the great state of Oklahoma. Mr Kevin, welcome to the show my friend.
Oh Man. Thank you so much for having me here. It’s great to be with you and all your listeners and excited to be running for governor.
Well, Kevin, I want to give the listeners out because this is a business podcasts for those of you just tuning in. Our podcast right now on itunes is in the top 10 of all business podcasts were downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people from coast to coast. So whether somebody is in New York or Australia or Canada, Guam, Guam, we have a lot of listeners in Guam, South Korea. Can you explain to the listeners out there your history and how you got started in the world of business podcasts?
Sure, absolutely. Well, you know, I’ve got an accounting degree from Oklahoma state and after college
moved to Tulsa and I first got into aviation love aviation. I’m a pilot and that’s what I thought I wanted to do. And uh, met my wife Sarah here in Tulsa. We’ve been married for 20 years and had six children and uh, yeah, so busy around the house and, and uh, I just like a lot of entrepreneurs, uh, you know, I got into the mortgage business and, but I didn’t have any resources, but I had a big dream and a big vision and actually started my company with a thousand dollars in a computer back in 2000. And now today we employ 1200 people. We have 165 offices across the country. One of our divisions, we buy loans from banks and credit unions and a vendor, a customer for life with us. We service all of our loans right out of Tulsa. So, uh, that’s just been my whole world for the last 20 years. It’s always been about hiring people smarter than me putting them in the right positions, leading, setting the vision and the strategy and, and, uh, you know, set big goals then going and letting our team go accomplish them.
Did you have a big book that you read, a book, a book that was a game changer or mindset changer or maybe a pivotal moment. Was there a. was something that changed in your life where you believed that you could go from having a thousand dollars in a computer to starting a gateway mortgage company that is now has now has 1200 employees. Was there one appify money or one moment where you could look back and go? That was when I decided to make this happen.
You know, I mean, I don’t think there was one thing, obviously my faith and the Bible is a very important to me and I think when, when God’s for you who can be against you, uh, but, but I tell people, you know, there’s no real secret. I mean, it’s, it takes a hire the right people and setting strategy and setting a vision and then working your tail off every single day to go accomplish it. And just always kinda thinking watch it the next level. What’s the next level of never getting complacent? People usually give up too early. And, uh, you know, an early on in our career we had the financial crisis around 2006, 2007. And, and, uh, trust me, I wanted to quit my own company a thousand times, but, uh, I believe it’s not over until I win. And, uh, I kept going and pushing and uh, you know, tighten our belts, straps and, and uh, and uh, you know as a business podcasts, I knew that it was getting better and we and we would come out of that and, and we, uh, uh, made some good decisions along the way. Have a great team and and after that financial crisis we just kind of took off and now, but one of the largest servicers where we serve as close to 20 billion now in homeless.
Wow. Twenty dollars billion.
Kevin, why did you decide? Here’s what I see this is. This is my opinion than you can. You can disagree if it’s okay. This is how I look at it. I built my fortune or my wealth with my first company called Dj Connection Dot Com and we did entertainment for weddings. You know, thousands of them all over Tulsa. 4,000 of them a year between Tulsa, Dallas, different cities. I think one, I think you started off as a carny. If you get upgraded, you move up to a DJ. If you go from a Dj, you could eventually become maybe mortgage and then from there the next level is kind of politics. So what would make you decide to be crazy enough to go from mortgages to politics? Because you know people are going to do nothing but attack you. People want, don’t want to discuss ideas. They want to attack you personally. Make up false allegations. Why would you, you have a wife, you have six kids, why would you want to enter the world of politics?
Oh man, that’s a great question. You know, but, but here’s the deal. Our, our state is in big trouble. I mean, in, in our forefathers, never envision career politicians. They thought that somebody would temporarily leave their farmer business and go serve their state. And that’s my idea of what we need. Uh, as I traveled and visited our offices in Texas and I see all the momentum and positivity and growth coming out of that state. And then I visit our offices in Arkansas and Tennessee and Colorado and I see the same thing. And then I come back to my state to state I grew up in and I love and I realized, you know, we haven’t grown like these other states and our education system, we’re ranked 45th and reading and math scores and we’re going to four day school weeks and a lot of cases and we’re number one in incarceration rates.
And so, um, you know, I, and then I started looking at who’s running for governor. And I looked at the resumes of the guys were on it and it’s the same old, same old, it’s the same resumes as the old administration and the administration before that. Nothing’s going to change if we keep electing the same people. And so, uh, that’s why I’m running. I want to take off from my company, goes served my state and really focused on that next generation and not the next election. And, and I think we’ve got a great state and we’ve got all the bones, the infrastructure we need to be a top 10 state, a top 10 and job growth, top gun and education and top 10 and infrastructure. And I’ve got a plan to get us there.
Now Kevin probably suddenly want to put on the next state license plate, Oklahoma, America’s number one incarceration state. That’s probably not a tourism draw. That’s probably not something we want to brag about. So you have a thoughtfully articulated your ideas on your website, but I had a couple of your main ideas that I wanted to have you break down if I could. And one of the things I read about, and you can correct me if I’m in, if I’m wrong here, but you want to put Oklahoma’s book online and, and apply performance metrics to government like you would do in, in business for every state agency. In fact, do you want to put the check book online? What do you mean by that?
The governor is to run the $20,000,000,000 budget effectively and efficiently deliver better services because at the end of the day, this is about delivering services. And I think running state government is more like running a business than anything. Um, and right now we have a $20,000,000,000 budget. But the problem is nobody’s held accountable. There’s no transparency, there’s no performance metrics. There’s no, uh, how are we getting better in education? How are we getting better in roads and bridges? And so, uh, I want to, number one, put our check book online so the citizens can help me hold the elected people accountable and I’m going to hire and I want to give the authority to hire and fire the agency heads, which the governor doesn’t have today. Uh, not to be a bad guy, but the tree creates a type of accountability that we’re used to in the private sector so we can actually do a better job with these agencies and spend this $20,000,000,000 more effectively and efficiently and, and, and so I think that’s just a core difference between me and my opponent who they don’t even really know what a performance metric is.
They don’t, they don’t, they’ve never run a business strategy or balanced budget.
I, I would say this, and I don’t mean this as a backhanded compliment in, it’s just dumb to not put the state’s checkbook online. I mean, if you own a business or love business podcasts of any kind, you have any of budget at all. I’ve managed multimillion dollar budgets. Kevin, you’ve managed much. A budget is much larger than that. It would just not make any sense at all to not have transparency and to have people that are career a locked into a position where they can’t be fired than unhealed held accountable. It just doesn’t make any sense. So what you’re saying to me makes sense because I’m a business guy and for anybody who’s not a business person, I just heaven help you if you run a business and you can’t be transparent about your expenses. Now, one thing that I’ve noticed that you’re talking about his ideas, you’re talking a lot about specific ideas to improve the state’s infrastructure and the quality of healthcare. Um, you, no one knows your idea’s better than you. Can you explain some of your specific ideas to improve the state’s infrastructure and healthcare?
So infrastructure is a huge core function of state government. I mean, we all drive on our roads and our bridges and so I’ve just built an 86,000 foot headquarters. And where do you think I built it? I built it right off highway 75 because that’s where the infrastructure is and that creates a momentum that our economy needs the best roads, bridges, that’s where businesses want to be located next to. And so that’s such an important part. So I’ve been studying the eight year plan, how they funded in a, uh, with our department of transportation. Uh, I’ve started talking to companies that build bridges and roads and our state and also in other states trying to find out why aren’t they better than others in other states. And what I’m finding out is, you know, our red tape in our bureaucracy is heavier than other states around us. It costs more to build projects than it does in other states. Our technology hasn’t caught up, we’re still engineering things the same way we did 50 years ago and there’s new technology and innovation and road building and construction that we have to start bringing a new, fresh ideas too. So all those things play in a business podcasts person just wants to make sure that we, we get those dollars into the projects and the roads and not waste on administration level. So I want to do that. And your other question was on healthcare, right? Right.
Yeah. So healthcare, you know, the state runs Medicaid and uh, you know, the, all the rural hospitals, we’ve gone from 500,000 people on Medicaid to close to a million.
of our citizens now are on Medicaid or some kind of assistance. We have got to audit those roles, get the able bodied folks off of the system, other states are doing it. We’ve got to do that so we can take care of the most needy and the vulnerable and the folks we need to because we cannot continue to cut reimbursements and we’re losing nursing homes and um, some of our rural hospitals, we only have one insurance provider in our state. We need to be able to make sure we have multiple insurance providers because as you know, in business, if there’s only one grocery store, one bank, they can dictate pricing and we need to make sure that we are, we’re not just dictating pricing to that, some of those rural hospitals because healthcare is such a huge part obviously of a job growth and, and, and, uh, and getting businesses into our site as well.
Now, whether it’s the federalist papers and the Declaration of independence, I’m very into the foundational principles that made this country great. I don’t talk a lot about. I’ll talk about it a lot on this podcast because an radio show, because it’s not political, it’s a non political show, but let’s just say you’re out there and you run a business, so a lot of our listeners own businesses with thousands and thousands of customers and million dollar budgets. It doesn’t make any sense at all. If you own a business to not have a line item budget, it makes no sense. If you want a business, if you want a snow cone stand, if you have a food truck, you just cannot look at budgets as a big broad pie chart. You have to look at the line item expenses to see where your, where your money’s going. You’ve been an advocate of requiring a line item budget for every area of the state, the state’s spending. Can you speak about that and why that is such a controversial idea for so many people?
Yeah. Well, like I said, you know, there’s a $20,000,000 budget and the problem is our legislature, they only. They’ve got a really tough job. You know, our citizens, we think, well the governor is in charge of running the budget will not really a. Then they, then you think that the legislatures in charge, well not really what’s happening here, folks, is these 120 different agency heads report up to a board and the board, those members are there for seven years or nine years and the governor gets to appoint a board member, but to get all of my appointments in the governor’s on their second term, they’re on their way out the door before they even have control of the board. So that is the main problem. There is no accountability. Like I said, the legislature controls just a small portion of the overall budget. We have to create more transparency, accountability, like you said, a line item, budgeting to make sure we’re delivering good services. Nobody was start a company and then let their different department head hire as many people as they want without, without any oversight. And right now that’s the problem with state government. And uh, I want to fix that when I get there.
No, I, I watched, uh, politics like a hawk, like I said, but I just don’t really talk about it a lot because you know, it can be politically divisive, but this is how I view the timeline and you tell me if I’m missing something here, but you decided to run for governor and I’ve heard you focus exclusively on, on your specific policies for the entirety of your campaign. This is what I’ve seen and if I’m wrong, you tell me, but I’ve seen you focus on policies and then recently I seem like there, there are some ads that came out, some advertisement, some, some youtube ads, some tv ads that were negative and they were questioning your business podcasts practices, your, your business ethics, which by the way, it’s very hard, very hard to build a company with 1200 employees if you’re a shady individual. But there was advertisements. Kevin, there were running. Maybe you didn’t see these ads. Maybe I just noticed them, but the ads came out. Not talking about policy, but just trying to put a cloud over you as a human. A father of six, a husband of one. Amanda’s built 12, a 1200 person business starting with a thousand dollars and oh, by the way, employing lots of people, Kevin, or have you seen these ads, these kind of a negative attack ads, or am I the only person who’s seen these ads?
A typical politics? Here’s the deal, you know, I’m super proud of our company. We have nothing to be ashamed of. It all. I mean, we’ve got a very successful company. I’m proud of our 1200 employees. We do 3000 home loans every single month and it’s just typical politics. What’s really happening is I am beating my opponent. The polls show ’em up by 10 points, so that’s why he went negative with some of his dark money groups. They started running negative ads attacking me last Friday. But here’s the deal. Oklahomans are too smart for this because he’s just trying to hide his liberal policies. You can’t win just talking about the issue. So he tries to tear, tear me down. But, uh, again, what they’re talking about, just so your listeners know that in the state of Georgia back in 2009 during the financial crisis, I paid the $2,000 fine. And I terminated the two employees that were there and uh, since 2009, I’ve actually been licensed in 25 other states since then and we can do business in all 50 states and we actually get examined in 41 states every single year for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. And the CFPB is one of our regulators. So it’s just typical a, a politician that’s never lived in the private sector trying to twist the truth and uh, on an Oklahoma Great Oklahoma company. So it’s really sad.
No, Kevin, the other day I didn’t call my wife before leaving to research. I went to research. I forgot to tell her I was going to research. So I was gone for about 27 minutes. She expected me to be gone for zero minutes. We’d been married for 17 years and I really irritated her. And the other day is probably, what, about six or seven months ago, Erica, my cohost here, I think I cursed out a man in my parking lot for coming into our building with that after I’ve told them to go away multiple times. So I’m just trying to air my dirty laundry out there, you know, I think there’s nobody out there that’s perfect. But you’ve had a pretty, uh, high integrity career. I mean, you have really gone the right way. Everyone who note, I know so many people who know you and I just want to ask you, and if you don’t want to answer the question, it’s fine, but I know you’re not a perfect guy, but did you run any ads about your opponent that were negative at all but previous to him coming out there and kind of alleging things about your background?
Did you do that?
Oh No, absolutely not. We were very positive and we’ve been running a positive campaign the whole time talking about who I am really not let anybody. Uh, you know, even when people ask me to say something negative, I haven’t said anything. Uh, but of course we were ready because he was doing, they were, we were getting leaks to our campaign that they were about to quote, take my head off with some ads and so we were obviously prepared and I, I asked them, I asked him, I said, hey, you need to keep this positive or we’re going to show the voters of Oklahoma, uh, you know, some real policy difference between us. And so that’s where after he went negative, then I didn’t attack him personally. I just went, his own boys showed people that he was a never trumper and that he was a, he fought against repealing obamacare, which is a, which is harmful to small businesses. And so basically I think it’s important that people know the difference between me and him and so, but I of course did not do that until he started attacking me personally.
Now I have, I have two other final questions. Then I will give you the floor to share with whatever you’d like with voters out there and direct them to any website you want. But I have two more hard hitting questions and chip, you can. You can hit me with you. You can throw something at me if it, if they’re too hard hitting here. Stapler here. Kevin. I’ve watched you from afar and again, we don’t know each other that well. I’ve mentioned a couple times. I’ve watched you from afar and I’ve noticed that you consistently talk about things that are constitutional. You seem like a pretty hardcore, literal constitutional bible believing kind of guy and it seems like you’re running right now against a person who is a general rule, makes statements and comments and then our right of center, but has actions that are left of center. If you disagree with what I’ve observed and you say that’s that you can do that, but I’m just saying it seems like your opponent seems to make actions that are left of center but says comments that are right of center and you tend to be very right of center and unapologetic about always being an acting right of center. Am I? Am I missing something or am I to tell me what you. How you process that.
Very well said, you ought to be on the radio or something.
Oh, well. So you agree with that?
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. You know, I’m a constitutional conservative. I believe in the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the 10th amendment gives powers to the states. Um, and so as governor, I think that we know how to educate our kids and we know how to run our businesses and take care of the environment in Oklahoma and we don’t need somebody in Washington dc to tell us how to do it. And so, uh, as governor, I’ll protect our rights and I’ll, and I’ll have our attorney general suing the overreach of the federal government or the EPA or whatever comes in to tell us how to educate our kids, run our businesses here in Oklahoma. Uh, I will our gun rights and uh, I’m a, I’m an Oklahoma, Oklahoma guy and, and uh, in a free market free enterprise, a smaller government guy, I’ll protect the taxpayers and I’ll make sure that government is running efficiently and effectively.
Now this is my final hard hitting question. I a Forbes, I write for Forbes magazine. I’ve been interviewed on different articles there and as our podcast continues to rise in popularity, you know, people will ask me certain questions and I can just say this, Forbes in my mind is pretty neutral, although Mr Forbes is right of center, so it’s a slightly skewed right of center publication, a CNN, obviously he’s left. Fox is right, you know, but objectively there’s an article, and I’ll put this on the show notes there chopping. I would like for you to put it on the show. A total listeners can go to thrive time show.com and look at it. But Forbes did a feature piece that explained that there is overwhelming evidence that Obama care raises premiums and causes the premiums to increase substantially. Okay. This is not like a someone’s opinion or just showing the facts of, hey listen, we’re a financial publication.
We focus on business and the Obama care is causing the premiums to increase substantially. So I can say this, as the host of a radio show, I can say this, anybody who endorses, um, increased government control and increasing our expenses and giving over more and more a control to the government and less and less control to the free market is an enemy of Clay Clark. So Kevin, you have my vote and if you want to rebuke it here on the radio or the podcast, I respect that, but you have my vote and that’s why I’m a favor of you and in favor of you and not the other guy. I think you understand how economies work and how the free market is not in control of our health care system. It’s going to get expensive. I appreciate that about you.
Yup. Absolutely. One hundred percent agree. And a lot of this is just a structural problem and an accountability problem. Again, I’ll tell your listeners we don’t have any different issues in Oklahoma than they have in Texas or Kansas or Indiana or Florida or any other state. So that’s what I get excited about is we can be a top 10 state and we’re not going to. We didn’t get in this mess overnight, we’re not going to get out of it overnight, but I will set the vision and I’ll put the plan together and I’ll work with the legislature and we’ll start moving up those rankings to be popped in.
So the listeners are out there listening to the thrive time, show on Talk Radio, 1170 or on the podcast and they say, you know, I wanna I want to support Kevin or learn more about them or maybe I just want to really discover the hidden truth or I just want to like, get into learning more about you and your family and your background in deciding who I’m gonna vote for or not vote for. Where would you, what’s the website or what’s, where would you direct all of our listeners to direct your attention towards?
Sure. For Gov.com and like us on facebook, they can download our APP. You can go to the APP store and download the stuff for governor APP. Um, then, uh, get the boat out on August 28th. I tell everybody that I meet that, you know, if you want to see me as your next governor, you got to help me get there and you’ve got to get the vote out on August 28, text all your friends or email them on the 28th. Make sure they get out and vote. This is such an important election and I think the guys I’m running against again, or are nice fellows, but nothing’s gonna Change. If you keep electing the political insiders, we need an outsider, a non politician to come in to straighten out state government and in politics as usual. And I, and I’m that guy and uh, but I need your help. And Clay, I can’t thank you enough for having me on your program day.
Kevin, whether you win this race or not, I believe you’re going to. I appreciate you for creating 1200 jobs and for being a great example of how to start a business with a thousand bucks and build it into something substantial. You’re an awesome asset to Oklahoma and I appreciate you putting your neck out on their neck out there. I know that when you go out on the limb, that’s where the fruit is, but it also, you definitely are putting yourself out there, so thank you for, for putting yourself out there. I know attack ads aren’t fun, but at least more people are knowing your name, right?
The educated voters, Oklahoma’s too smart for that. They can see right through it. And then the career politicians is down in the polls so he’s going negative and so we just tell people the truth and, and I invite anybody to come over and meet us at our company, talked to our employees. I’m super proud of them and we’ve got a great company and nothing to apologize about.
Well, Kevin, you and your wife and your incredible six kids, have a wonderful rest of your day and, uh, we look forward to encouraging Tulsa to visit your website. And, uh, August 28th is the day to put on your calendar a vote for Kevin. Did or don’t vote for Kevin, but vote Oklahoma. Thank you for being on the show, sir.
Okay. Thank you. Bye. Bye. Take care.
Nation. Who knows. We might have just interviewed Oklahoma’s next governor, Oklahoma’s next governor, or we might have interviewed a guy who just lost the governor race, but, uh, with any, regardless of whether he wins or not, I would just say that Kevin Stitt is a standup, the human and a guy who has built a very successful company and a guy who has earned my vote. So what he decided to vote for Kevin [inaudible] or the other guy, I would encourage you to go out there and vote, make it happen, Oklahoma, without any further ado, three, two, one. Boom.