Sarah Stitt is the wife of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. The governor announced Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus — making him the first governor in the U.S. to have a documented infection, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper reported that Kevin Stitt said in a video conference he felt fine and did not know how or when he got the infection. The Republican continued on to say that his test results did not sway his decision to refrain from issuing a statewide mask order.
“I’m probably getting tons of texts right now from other governors around the country,” he said, according to NYT. “I was pretty shocked that I was the first governor to get it.”
Oklahoma has seen more than 22,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and over 430 deaths, according to state health data. The state set a single-day record on Tuesday with more than 990 new cases, NYT reported.
The governor claimed he does not believe that he has a serious case, the newspaper continued.
“It just kind of feels achy, like maybe the start of a little cold is what it feels like right now, but really I feel fine,” he said during the video interview, NYT said.
Sarah Stitt, who has been married to the governor for over 21 years, tested negative for the virus, as well as their six children, NYT continued. The family lives together in Tulsa.
The First Lady has not yet commented on her husband’s diagnosis.
Here is everything you need to know about Sarah Stitt:
1. Sarah Grew Up in a Home With Mental Illness
Stitt grew up in Tulsa in a household marked by mental illness, Metro Family Magazine reported. Her mother struggled with untreated mental illnesses that stemmed from her own childhood.
Because of this, the dynamic “greatly affected Stitt’s household growing up,” the magazine continued. Her mother attempted suicide several times and a sibling developed a drug addiction.
“I remember specific times as a young girl and teen feeling very alone or feeling suffocated,” Still said to the outlet. “But at around 14 or 15 I decided everything going on in my life could be used to better myself and the lives of others. I had to embrace that way of thinking and keep my head up. There were still hard times, times I felt isolated and helpless, but I just tried to make the right decisions.”
Stitt was home-schooled until she was a teen, the Metro magazine reported.
The First Lady has now dedicated her life to erasing the stigma surrounding mental health, she said to the outlet.
“As a child I was not allowed to talk about the issues in my family because my mom was afraid we’d be judged or what people would think,” said Stitt. “That keeps families isolated and keeps them from getting the resources to help them walk through their lives.”
2. Stitt’s Professional Experiences Helped Prepare Her for Her Role as First Lady
— Sarah Stitt (@OKFirstLady) March 2, 2020
The Tulsa native’s professional experiences helped to shape her path as the First Lady, the outlet reported. Her resume armed her with a “strong work ethic, love of learning, grace under pressure and gift for public speaking all coming into play,” Metro wrote.
“Sometimes I think, ‘What am I doing here?’” Stitt said to the magazine as she laughed. “I’m such an informal person and [sometimes] feel overwhelmed or like the least qualified person for this.”
3. Stitt Was Hesitant At First About Her Husband Running for Governor
— Sarah Stitt (@OKFirstLady) June 21, 2020
When Kevin Stitt first told Sarah Stitt he wanted to run, “she asked him not to tell anyone else, perhaps hoping she could talk him out of it,” Metro Family Magazine said.
“When Kevin talked about running for governor, I thought, ‘My life is about to jump tracks,’” Stitt recounted to the magazine. “I had developed this great world where I felt pretty in control.”
“He’d bring me statistics, saying, ‘Did you know Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate?’ And I’d say, ‘Then why do you want to be governor?!’”
But it wasn’t long before Sarah Stitt was on board with using the powerful platform to make a difference, Metro said.
4. Stitt is Using her Platform As First Lady to Focus on Mental Health & Education
Love the #moveformentalhealth initiative, @namioklahoma! Katie and I like to get moving with yoga stretches outside 🧘🏼♀️ mental health=physical health! @B_L_H_OKC @joy4ok @GovStitt @LtGovPinnell how do you get moving for mental health? pic.twitter.com/gwWvc9P7gC
— Sarah Stitt (@OKFirstLady) May 9, 2020
According to her biography on the state website, Stitt is dedicated to raising awareness of ACES, which are Adverse Childhood Experiences that can contribute to mental health diagnoses.
The experiences can be reversed through “caring relationships and provision of pathways to success,” the site reads.
Stitt is also working to funnel state resources to non-profits geared toward fighting ACES “every day,” the page continues.
“Sarah firmly believes that there can be a hope for a bright future for every Oklahoman,” the site says.
5. Stitt Chairs the Board of Friends of the Mansion
The First Lady is currently overseeing the renovation of the Governor’s Mansion “with the intention of bringing the home back to its original structure and restoring its historical value,” her bio reads.