Senator Kevin L. Matthews is the current Chair of the Oklahoma Senate Democratic (Minority) Caucus; Board Member, Lilyfield Foster Care Services; Board Development Chairman of Tulsa Area United Way; and Founder and Co-Chair of the newly formed Oklahoma Civil Rights Trail Planning Committee. He also serves on the Veterans Hospital in Tulsa Advisory Board and Meals on Wheels Advisory Board; Sen. Matthews serves as Membership Chair of the 100 Black Men of Tulsa mentoring organization and is a charter member of the North Tulsa Rotary Club.
He currently serves on the State Senate Public Safety, Transportation, Retirement & Insurance, Appropriations, and Appropriations A&B General Government & Transportation Committees.
Sen. Matthews served from 2010-2022 on the Oklahoma Educational Memorial Scholarship Board. He is Founder/Chair of the 1921 Race Massacre Centennial Commission, which led to Greenwood Rising; Matthews became Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus in July 2015 and is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Oklahoma, Class XXVIII. In 2018, Sen. Matthews received the EduRec Civic Leadership Award and the Christian Ministers’ Community Service and Leadership Awards.
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 on Nov. 14. 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 his 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 House Speaker 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.
Sen. Matthews is a native Tulsan, graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1978. He is the proud father of two very successful young men, and a proud grandfather. Kevin Matthews II, and his wife Jessica Moore Matthews, are graduates of Hampton University and the parents of Kevin Matthews III and Carver Matthews. His son, Sterling Matthews, is a spoken word artist.