Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon will deliver the commencement address to Cameron University’s Class of 2013.
Shannon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Cameron University in 2000. He also holds a juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University Law School.
In a historic ceremony on January 8, 2013, Representative Shannon took the oath of office to be Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House, becoming Oklahoma’s first African-American Speaker of the House and the youngest house member to ever hold that position. He hopes his mark is made by his quest to restore strong families, and to inspire the challenge of prosperity through personal responsibility.
Speaker Shannon’s political career began when he worked as a field representative for former Congressman J.C. Watts and then for Congressman Tom Cole. In 2006, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the first Republican ever elected from District 62 and the first African-American elected to the legislature from southern Oklahoma.
Considered a champion for limited government, Speaker Shannon has more than earned the trust of his colleagues. He quickly rose to leadership in the state House, where he served as deputy majority whip in his first term, chaired the powerful transportation committee in only his second term and was elected speaker-designate in his third term.
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 recently by pushing to liquidate excess state-owned property. Speaker Shannon has earned high praise and editorial support from the state’s two major newspapers. In the process, the trailblazing conservative uncovered that bureaucrats were grossly under-reporting the number of state-owned assets. Speaker Shannon also crafted an eight-year plan to rebuild Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridges.
He was recently appointed to the national advisory board of GOPAC, an organization whose mission it is to support up-and-coming Republican leaders.
An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, Speaker Shannon previously worked as the chief administrative officer for Chickasaw Nation Enterprises. Today, he operates a home-based public relations business.
Shannon serves as a youth Sunday school teacher at Lawton’s Bethlehem Baptist Church. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Devon, for 11 years. They have two children, Audrey Grace and Tahrohon Wayne II.