Gov. Kevin Stitt loses another Cabinet secretary

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s secretary of public safety resigned Thursday to focus on his business and family.

Chip Keating became the latest secretary to resign from the governor’s Cabinet.

He oversaw the Corrections Department, the Department of Public Safety, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control and other agencies involved in public safety.

“The last two years have been some of the most rewarding of my life,” he wrote in his resignation announcement to his “Public Safety Team.”

“I am so honored and humbled to have served along side of you,” he wrote. “I committed to Gov. Stitt when he named me Secretary that I would serve two years. It has been a tremendous sacrifice on my professional business career and after two years as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Public Safety it is time for me to attend full time to my family and business.

“God willing, I will be able to return to public service sometime in the future.”

Keating is a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and the son of former Gov. Frank Keating.

Still serving the governor is the deputy secretary of public safety, Jason Nelson.

“Chip did a great job,” Nelson said Thursday.

“He owns all of his own businesses. And so he was doing both at the same time. It was a lot. … It was an extraordinary time for him to be in that position. … He will continue to be an adviser to the governor,” said Nelson, a former legislator.

The governor praised Keating, saying he did an outstanding job.

“In our time working together, Oklahoma has moved from 50th to 45th in incarceration rate among U.S. states, while also lowering recidivism, violent crime and non-violent crime rates,” the governor said.

“We are actively working to appoint an Oklahoman to continue upon the great work accomplished under Chip’s leadership during the past two years.”

Also leaving is the governor’s general counsel, Mark Burget.

Taking over in the position as the governor’s attorney is Jason Reese.

“Jason is a longtime litigator and former Oklahoma House of Representatives attorney with more than 15 years of experience, so he’ll bring a robust understanding of law and policy to the office,” the governor said. “He will serve my administration well as we continue to work toward becoming a Top Ten state.”