Oklahoma City, Okla. (February 15, 2019) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the appointment of Steve Buck as the Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives, a cabinet position that requires Senate confirmation.
“Steve has a proven track record for bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the most vulnerable in our state are taken care of and given opportunities for a bright future,” said Stitt. “Steve’s passion and vision to continue to improve Oklahoma’s services supporting children and families will play a critical role on the cabinet as we work to move the entire state forward.”
As secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives, Buck is responsible for 34 agencies, boards and commissions, including the Department of Human Services and Oklahoma Juvenile Affairs (OJA). He previously served the state as secretary of health and human services under the Fallin administration.
As OJA’s executive director, Buck is responsible for the overall management of the agency’s operated and contracted programs and services. He works directly with the agency’s governing board to facilitate agency priorities, planning and operational performance. Before joining OJA, Buck served nine years as deputy commissioner for communications and prevention at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Prior to that, he worked 10 years for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in multiple roles, including national director of state policy and executive director of NAMI Oklahoma. Buck and his wife, Lisa, have four daughters and two sons. A native Oklahoman, he is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a masters in administration leadership from the University of Oklahoma.
“Steven Buck is a champion of children and families; a proven leader who brings an extensive scope of experience to Oklahoma as a wonderful steward of people and physical resources. I know him to be a person of integrity who exemplifies a heart for all Oklahomans and a passion to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens receive the services they need most. He is a convener, a collaborator and a servant leader, bringing together foster providers, parents, governmental agencies, mental health services, the judicial system, and the public-at-large. He is truly among Oklahoma’s greatest treasures and will be a wonderful addition to the Governor’s cabinet.” – Karen Vinyard Waddell, Former DHS Commissioner; Chair, Count Me In 4 Kids, and President/CEO, the Lynn Institutes
“I have had the pleasure of working with Director Buck in his many leadership roles in our state. He has always approached his work with a heart of service and is uniquely qualified to be secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives. Steven’s passion for people, particularly children is unmatched. Governor Stitt couldn’t have picked a better person to advise him on these issues.” – Scott C. Martin, President/CEO, Norman Chamber of Commerce
“I have known and worked with Steve Buck for many years. I consider him a transformational leader, an innovative thinker, a truly principled, transparent individual, an unwavering advocate for children and families and a valuable partner who is always willing to think outside the box. As Governor Stitt reimagines Oklahoma’s future, Steve will be an invaluable asset as secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives. Huge thanks to Governor Stitt for appointing Steve Buck to fight for the children and families of Oklahoma.” – Sarah Roberts, Senior Program Officer, Inasmuch Foundation
“Steve is a man of integrity and a selfless individual. Through my association with him for some 30 years, I have found him to have a servant’s heart and an ability to communicate with all he comes in contact. He will serve our state well.” – Phil Kennedy, Owner and President, Comanche Home Center, Lawton
“I couldn’t be more excited for Director Steven Buck’s appointment to Governor Stitt’s cabinet as secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives. Steve’s work is not a job, but rather a calling. As a true advocate for youth and justice, Mr. Buck will unquestionably make a positive difference for our state.” – Lee Roland, Author, Public Speaker and Education Consultant