T. W. Shannon, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, will speak in OBU's chapel service Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. in Raley Chapel.
Considered a champion for limited government, Shannon was elected to the state House of Representatives from his hometown of Lawton, Okla., in 2006. He is a leader in his community and also serves as a trustee of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
In January, Shannon became Oklahoma's first African American House Speaker and, reportedly, the first black Republican in the nation to head a state legislative body. He is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation and one of the youngest speakers in state history.
After his election to state government, Shannon quickly rose to leadership in the legislature, becoming chairman of the transportation committee in only his second term and serving as a deputy majority whip. He has been a champion for the state's natural gas industry, reducing the tax on compressed natural gas, a plentiful Oklahoma resource.
He again made a mark in 2011 by pushing to liquidate excess state-owned property. He earned high praise and editorial support from both of the state's two major newspapers. GOPAC, an organization whose mission is to identify and support rising Republican leaders, recently added Shannon to its advisory board. Shannon also has participated in the Pro-Family Legislators Conference, sponsored by historian David Barton's Wall Builders organization.
Shannon earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Cameron University and earned a juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University Law School. He worked as a field representative for former Congressman J.C. Watts a decade ago and served in the same position for Congressman Tom Cole the following two years.
He has been married to his wife, Devon, for 11 years, and they have two children, Audrey Grace and T.W. Jr. Shannon and his wife operate a public relations consulting firm, and he has served as the chief administrative officer for the Chickasaw Nation.