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Governor Stitt, Cabinet Members File Lawsuit for Clarity on Attorney General Opinion

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Today, Governor Kevin Stitt along with Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, Secretary of Human Services Deb Shropshire, and Secretary of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Shelley Zumwalt, filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Gentner Drummond to correct his recent, flawed opinion that resulted in the resignation of Tim Gatz from his role as Secretary of Transportation.

“Since I took office, I’ve worked to find ways to run government efficiently and save the taxpayers money. I have the best people in Oklahoma running my state agencies, and it only makes sense to have them be my advisers,” said Gov. Stitt. “The most recent AG Opinion concerning Tim Gatz is flat wrong, and in order to continue working to make Oklahoma a top 10 state, a court will need to fix the mess the Opinion created.”

The lawsuit filed by the Governor and the named cabinet secretaries and agency heads highlights that the Attorney General badly misapplied Oklahoma’s dual office holding laws. The Governor cites basic black letter law and points to precedent set by the last four governors as his guide for the construction of his cabinet.

“Working with the exceptional staff at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) and having the opportunity to serve as Secretary of Agriculture provides me valuable insight into the needs of farmers, ranchers and agribusiness in the state. I worked directly with the two previous Secretaries of Agriculture, who also served as the agency director for ODAFF,” said Sec. Arthur. “I saw firsthand the positive impact a person serving in both capacities can have. I look forward to clarity being provided on this issue and doing all that I can to help agriculture thrive in Oklahoma.”

"Throughout my career, I have served Oklahomans, whether in my time as a pediatrician, helping families grow and care for their children, or in my more than 23 years in state service,” said Sec. Shropshire. “I was appointed by the Governor and remain focused on my work to end child abuse and strengthen families. I am dedicated to leading an agency that creates hope and positive outcomes for our state's most vulnerable families and welcome clarification on the issue at hand."

“I agree that the Governor should be able to select a Cabinet of his choice,” said Sec. Zumwalt.

The lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County.

The initial filing can be found here and here

Last Modified on Mar 07, 2024
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