Lawton, OK (KSWO) - A candidate running for Oklahoma governor made a stop in Lawton Monday afternoon to wrap up his official campaign launch.
Republican candidate Kevin Stitt had never run for office before filing earlier this year. He said his frustration with what's going on is what led him to his decision to seek the governor's office.
"I just don't think that the career politicians that normally run for office are going to be able to grow our state and get us out of the mess, and that's why I want to take off from my company and go serve my state and get it growing again," Stitt said.
The Oklahoma State University graduate got his accounting degree and started a business 17 years ago called Gateway Mortgage group, which now has 1,100 employees.
Stitt wants to use his business knowledge to help fix Oklahoma's budget problems.
"We have to increase our tax base," he said. "We have to have more taxpayers. We don't need more taxes."
One thing he said he'd to do to help bring in businesses is focus on the more than 600,000 students in the state. One way he plans on doing that is by giving teachers raises.
"So, like it or not we got to pay our teachers what the six-state footprint around Oklahoma pays," Stitt said. "We gotta pay them what Texas, Kansas, Arkansas pays."
Another item he spoke about is criminal justice reform.
"We're either going to spend two billion dollars over the next 10 years building new prisons or we have got to tackle that addiction problem and there are better outcomes versus incarceration," Stitt said.
He hopes to get wide support because he's an outsider, and said he'll make decisions for the next generation rather than the next election.
"I really believe if we keep electing the same guys that run every single time we're going to talking about the same issues eight years from now and I want to be focused on the next generation," Stitt said.
Stitt will be back in Lawton for the state of the city luncheon later in October.
The election for governor is not until November of next year and 13 people are already running.