The Nov. 6 election results ushered in a new class of elected officials in Oklahoma scheduled to begin work during the start of a new legislative session in February, or in some cases, before then. Oklahomans showed preference for female candidates like never before and demonstrated a newfound respect for political outsiders.
Those outsiders include the state’s new governor, Republican Kevin Stitt, who received 12 percent more votes than his opponent, Democrat Drew Edmondson, who served as Oklahoma’s attorney general from 1995 to 2011. Oklahoma City attorney Kendra Horn is another political outsider who received more votes than her opponent, U.S. Rep. Steve Russell. Horn unseated the incumbent with 50.7 percent of votes. New faces to Oklahoma politics also include Oklahoma City-County Health Department program director turned county commissioner Carrie Blumert, math and science teacher turned state senator Carri Hicks, Oklahoma City nonprofit director turned state senator Julia Kirt and Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs advocate turned House representative Nicole Miller.
With newcomer politicians likely to make headlines in 2019, here’s a look at the men and women behind the fresh faces.
Elected title: governor
Also known as: Stitt was the CEO and founder of Gateway Mortgage Group. He maintains ownership of the company.
Family: Stitt’s family includes his wife, Sarah, and their six children.
Hometown: Stitt was born in Florida but moved to Norman as a toddler with his family.
Hero: Stitt’s hero is his grandfather, who worked as a dairy farmer in Skiatook when Stitt was a child.
Most likely to: Stitt said as governor, he is most likely to attract new business to the state with the promise of an “Oklahoma turnaround.”
Elected title: U.S House Representative from Oklahoma’s 5th District
Formerly known as: Horn was an Oklahoma City-based attorney and the director of Sally’s List and Women Lead, nonprofit organizations that supported women candidates running for elected office.
Family: Horn’s family lives in Chickasha. She said she is the proud descendent of strong women who advocated for community service and engagement.
Hero: Her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Most likely to: Advocate for the expansion of Medicaid and the de-privatization of core services.
Elected title: state senator for District 40
Formerly known as: Hicks was a science and math teacher at Deer Creek Public Schools.
Family: Hicks’ family includes her husband, Spencer, and their three children.
Hero: Hicks said her heroes are Oklahoma’s public school teachers.
Most likely to: Ensure that the requests made by the Oklahoma Education Association’s Together We’re Stronger campaign are met. Requests include additional teacher pay raises by the year 2020 as well as an increase in pensions for retired teachers.
Elected title: state House minority leader
Also known as: state House representative for the 44th District
Family: Virgin has two nieces, and her family lives in Norman.
Hero: Virgin said her heroes include Oklahoma civil rights activist Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher and Kate Barnard, who became the first woman elected to state office in Oklahoma in 1907.
Most likely to: Advocate for criminal justice reform.
Elected title: Oklahoma
Formerly known as: Governor Mary Fallin appointed Hunter as Oklahoma’s attorney general February 20, 2017.
Family: Hunter’s family includes his wife Cheryl and their two grown sons.
Hero: Hunter’s heroes include his mother and former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.
Most likely to: Crack down on illegal opioid manufacturers.
Elected title: state treasurer
Formerly known as: state House representative for the 83rd District
Family: McDaniel’s family includes his wife, Julie, and their two children.
Hero: McDaniel said his father is his biggest hero.
Most likely to: Work toward balancing Oklahoma’s budget alongside Governor-Elect Stitt.
Elected title: lieutenant
Formerly known as: Oklahoma’s Republican Party chairman
Family: Pinnell’s family includes his wife, Lisa, and their four children.
Hero: Pinnell’s heroes include his father and former professional football player and U.S. House Representative for Oklahoma’s 1st District Steve Largent.
Most likely to: Advocate for Oklahoma’s foster care families.
Elected title: Oklahoma County District 1 commissioner
Formerly known as: Oklahoma City-County Health Department program director
Family: Blumert’s family includes her parents, Keith and Janice, and older sister, Bonnie, who is a trial lawyer and an Oklahoma County public defender.
Hometown: Ponca City
Hero: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Most likely to: Advocate for the construction of a new Oklahoma County Jail.
Elected title: state senator for District 30
Formerly known as: executive director of Oklahomans for the Arts
Family: Kirt’s family includes her husband, Nathan, and their two children.
Most likely to: Advocate for increased funding for core services including education and mental health services.
Elected title: state House representative for District 82
Formerly known as: Advocate and employee of Oklahoma’s Department of Veterans Affairs
Family: Miller’s family includes her husband Doug and their two children.
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Hero: Miller said her hero is her husband Doug, a retired Air Force lieutenant.
Most likely to: Oppose taxes and heavy regulations placed on small businesses.
Elected title: labor commissioner
Formerly known as: state House representative for District 47
Hometown: Salina, Kansas
Most likely to: Create a partnership between the state department of education and Oklahoma’s Department of Career and Technology Education so high school students become better aware of career options available to them.
Elected title: state House representative for District 77
Formerly known as: Tulsa Public Schools history teacher
Hometown: New Jersey
Hero: Abraham Lincoln
Most likely to: Advocate for restoring House Bill 1017, also known as The Education Reform Act that prevented classroom overcrowding with maximum-capacity restrictions.
Photos provided and Alexa Ace