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“Electric cooperatives provide a very important service to Oklahoma. We need both rural and


urban areas to be strong; they go hand in hand.” - T.W. Shannon, Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker


T.W. and Devon met during his senior year in col- lege. He graduated from Cameron in 2000; but the degree didn’t come easily.


While pursuing his bachelor’s he worked two jobs, as a computer lab facilitator at MacArthur High School and as an account executive at Perry Broadcasting, sell- ing radio spots.


During his last year at Cameron, T.W. had been accepted to law school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. However, life guided him in a dif- ferent direction. He took a job as fi eld representative for Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts and was ac- cepted at Oklahoma City University Law School. An exciting journey had begun for T.W., but not without sweat and hard work. His days were full. During the day he worked on J.C. Watts’ campaign, and at night he attended law school. After his fi rst year of attending law school, T.W. and Devon were married. It was dur- ing those years that his passion for public service solidifi ed.


“I was able to see Congressman Watts in action and I really enjoyed the opportunity of serving the people. Those were also values I received from my parents,” T.W. says. “I realized this would be an interesting ca- reer path to build consensus, solve problems, and make the state better.”


An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, T.W.


also worked as the chief administrative officer for Chickasaw Nation Enterprises. While at this position, T.W. managed support functions such as human re- sources, legal, security and surveillance. He considers his time serving the Chickasaw Nation as an invaluable business experience.


His character, problem-solving skills, and ability to build consensus are traits no one can miss.


Rising to the Call


While working for Congressman Watts, T.W. la- bored side by side with John Woods, then Watts’ po- litical advisor. Upon Watts’ retirement, Woods hired T.W. to work on Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole’s campaign as a fi eld representative. Woods, who now serves as director and chief executive offi cer for the Norman Chamber of Commerce, says he observed T.W.’s character closely through the years. “I have known T.W. since he was in college. He has such a strong moral compass and a sense of convic- tion. He’s someone who can bring individuals together and has a great sense that individuals can disagree. His strongest attribute is his ability to bring different peo- ple together to forge solutions,” Woods says. T.W. has represented Oklahoma’s District 62 since


18 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


2006. During his service in the legislature, T.W. has served on several committees including Transportation, Government Modernization, Higher Education & Career Tech, and Energy & Utility Regulation. As he enters the New Year and takes on the role of Speaker of the House, T.W.’s goals are to set the pace for continued growth and prosperity in Oklahoma. “We’re doing really great things for Oklahoma. We will foster pro-growth economic policies that respect hard work and limited government,” he says. “Government has a role, but it’s not the solution for every problem. We will continue to make Oklahoma a place of choice for families and continue investing in an educated workforce.”


His picture of growth in Oklahoma includes the state’s vast energy resources.


“We will keep this energy industry momentum to keep our costs low and attract new businesses,” he says. According to him, rural electric cooperatives have a vital role in the state through their service of providing affordable and reliable electricity and of empowering the communities they serve.


“Electric cooperatives provide a very important ser- vice to Oklahoma,” T.W. says. “We need both rural and urban areas to be strong; they go hand in hand.”


Looking Ahead


T.W. and his wife Devon own a private Public Relations fi rm called Shannon Strategies. When his term as Speaker comes to an end, T.W. says he is open to either working in the public or private sector. However, no matter what direction the Shannon fam- ily takes, T.W. says southwest Oklahoma will continue to be home.


“I love Oklahoma. We would go wherever the Lord leads us but this is my home. We, as a state, are well positioned nationally and globally. We enjoy a great quality of life, and if I can help tell this story, that’s what I want to do,” T.W. says with a smile in his offi ce, pictures of his family in the background. T.W. and Devon have two children Audrey Grace, 7, who likes to dance and sing and Tahrohon Wayne II, 3, who enjoys sports and is a “rock star,” according to his dad.


And, with that, he concludes his interview with Oklahoma Living magazine. “I have to go to another appointment now,” T.W. says.


It’s mid-morning, and he still has a full day ahead. A day of working for the state he calls home, a day of serving his neighbors, and yet another day of helping to build a solid future for his children.


Speaker T.W. Shannon took on his post Jan. 8, 2013. Photo Courtesy of Speaker Shannon’s Offi ce


Family pictures at Speaker T.W. Shannon’s offi ce. Photo by James Pratt


Speaker T.W. Shannon during the 54th Oklahoma Legislature Organizational Day. Photo Courtesy of Speaker Shannon’s Offi ce


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