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Gov. Kevin Stitt, family back in Oklahoma after New Mexico vacation during weather emergency


Gov. Kevin Stitt was on a family vacation in New Mexico after declaring on Friday a state of emergency in Oklahoma due to predicted severe winter weather.

Stitt and his family have since returned safely to Oklahoma, a spokeswoman for the governor said Monday.

The governor's office did not respond to specific questions about when Stitt and his family left for New Mexico or how they traveled to the neighboring state. The governor's ski trip was first reported by local blog, The Lost Ogle.

“Like many Oklahomans, Governor Stitt worked remotely this weekend while on a previously planned trip to New Mexico with his family and has since returned safely to Oklahoma," said spokeswoman Carly Atchison. "The experts at ODEMHS (Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security), ODOT (Oklahoma Department of Transportation) and OHP (Oklahoma Highway Patrol), as well as other state and local agencies, are doing an incredible job keeping Oklahomans safe and informed."

Stitt's office did not answer specific questions about whether the governor and his family self-quarantined after traveling to New Mexico or whether they took COVID-19 tests upon arrival.

“The Governor followed all requirements as outlined by the New Mexico health department," Atchison said.

New Mexico no longer requires visitors from "high-risk" states to self-quarantine, but visitors to the state are "strongly advised" to self-quarantine for two weeks and seek out a COVID-19 test upon arrival. New Mexico previously counted Oklahoma among "high-risk" states for COVID-19.

It's unlikely Stitt self-quarantined prior to the trip because he held a news conference at the Oklahoma state Capitol on Thursday.

Upon the threat of a major winter storm and below-freezing temperatures, Stitt on Friday declared a state of emergency in all of Oklahoma's 77 counties to give state agencies more options to respond to the impending snowstorm.

In a virtual news conference Monday evening in Oklahoma City, Stitt said state officials are preparing a request for federal disaster relief, including individual heating and energy assistance. He also plans to ask President Joe Biden to issue a national disaster declaration, saying he spoke earlier in the day with Homeland Security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

Stitt and state officials also encouraged Oklahomans to avoid using large appliances and lower their thermostats to 68 degrees or lower to conserve energy.

Reporter Carmen Forman covers state government, politics and the COVID-19 pandemic for The Oklahoman. Send story tips to or connect on Twitter with @CarmenMForman. Please support her work, and the work of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a print or digital subscription today at

Carmen Forman

Carmen Forman covers the state Capitol and governor's office for The Oklahoman. A Norman native and graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she previously covered state politics in Virginia and Arizona before returning to Oklahoma. Read more ›