Occupation: Retired Administrative Fire Chief
Education: Central State University
Legislative Experience: House, 2012 - 2014; Senate, 2014 - current
Senator Kevin L. Matthews is Membership Chair of the 100 Black Men of Tulsa mentoring organization, and was a charter member of the North Tulsa Rotary Club. He attended Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma from 1978-1981, where he pledged Phi Beta Sigma. Sen. Matthews later earned a degree in Fire Protection Technology while serving 25 years on the Tulsa Fire Department. He retired in January 2010 as the Administrative Fire Chief (Chief of Personnel) of a 694-person Fire Department, with budget responsibility of approximately $52 million. During his career as a Chief Officer, he completed the four-year Middle Management Curriculum at the National Fire Academy, and the five-year Executive Development Institute at Dillard University.
Matthews was elected to public service as a State Representative in 2012 and sworn in to his first term with the Oklahoma House of Representatives on November 14th. He was then elected as a State Senator in April 2015. Prior to becoming an elected official, he was accepted into and graduated from the Center for Advanced Leadership and the Andrew Young School of Policy Council in Atlanta, Georgia. During Rep. Matthews’ first session as a legislator, he received ranking member status on Public Safety Appropriations & Budget, as well as Economic Development & Financial Services for the state. He also served on Insurance and States’ Rights committees as well.
While a State Representative, Matthews was accepted and attended the Darden School of Business Emerging Leaders (Executive Education) Program at the University of Virginia in July 2013. He was honored by the Speaker of the House who appointed him to national committees on Economic Development, Transportation, and Cultural Affairs with the Southern Legislative Conference. He had also been appointed to the National Conference of State Legislators standing committee on Labor and Economic Development which includes economic development, tourism, and international relations. In December 2013, Matthews was one of only 20 legislators chosen to attend a White House briefing in the West Wing of the Obama White House.
Matthews is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Oklahoma, Class XXVIII.
Senator Matthews became Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus in July 2015. The Senator now serves as the Democratic Caucus Chair.
Senator Matthews is the Founder and Chair of the 1921 Centennial Commission, which is highlighting the rise and fall of “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa. The Senator recently received the EduRec 2018 Civic Leadership Award and the 2018 Christian Ministers’ Community Service and Leadership Awards.
Senator Matthews is a native Tulsan, graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1978 and is the proud father of two very successful young men, Kevin Matthews II, who is 29 years of age, a 2012 graduate of Hampton University, along with his wife Jessica Moore Matthews, both of whom work for Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York and his wife Cherlene McCray, respectively; and Sterling Matthews, who is 27 years of age, and is a spoken word artist, and an elementary school youth specialist in Tulsa. Senator Matthews is the proud grandfather of Kevin Matthews, III.