- Spring 2017
When T.W. Shannon took the oath of office in January of 2013 at the age of 34, he made history by becoming the youngest Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as well as being the first Chickasaw and first African American to hold the post. In addition to breaking barriers in the reddest state in the union, T.W.’s election as Speaker was also a nationally recognized feat, as he was the first African American republican in the country to head a legislative body since reconstruction.
Even before his ascension as the leader of the Oklahoma House, T.W. had a record of success as a history maker becoming the first republican elected to the House District 64 seat in southwest Oklahoma.
Heralded as a “Rising Star” by the Republican National Committee, Speaker Shannon utilized his platform to champion common sense solutions that aimed to advance minority communities alike in Oklahoma. T.W. was successful in Oklahoma’s fight to repeal affirmative action. He also successfully led the effort to overhaul the State’s welfare system by mandating a twenty hour work week for able-bodied adult recipients. Additionally, T.W. passed into law legislation which made Oklahoma the first state in the nation to provide a five thousand dollar tax deduction for parents of foster children.
Before serving in the legislature, T.W. worked as one of five C-level officers in the role of Chief Administrative Officer at the Chickasaw Nation, which boasted annual revenue of over one billion dollars, and employed over seventy-five hundred employees. In his role with the Chickasaw Nation, he lead the support functions for the most financially successful tribe in the country, and worked on governmental affairs on both a state and national level. Additionally, T.W. has been an entrepreneur in his own public relations consulting operation for over a decade, and currently leads the Investment Banking Division of Premier Consulting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As Managing Director, T.W. works with community banks across the country in developing a capital strategy and providing investment capital in the form of subordinated debt.
T.W. has been featured on numerous national forums discussing race in America, including: the Situation Room with Wolf Blitze; Fox and Friends; Hannity; and Stuart Varney. In this capacity, T.W. has often had a chance to add to the national dialogue from a young minority perspective. He is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow, and a part of the Young America Foundation’s Speakers Bureau. He was recently invited as a guest speaker on the Campus of Amherst College in Massachusetts where T.W. lectured the student body concerning recent racial tensions on the campus and directly addressed the negative effects of affirmative action efforts.
After a statewide bid for the United States Senate, T.W. has continued to engage on a national level. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Future Majority Project, which is a subgroup of the Republican State Legislative Committee. The mission of the FMP is to recruit diverse candidates across the country to run for office at the state level. As Chairman, T.W. is essentially the “chief diversity officer” for the Republican Party, and has strategically recruited many minority candidates who currently serve at the state level.
In addition to his service as Chairman of the Future Majority Project, T.W. also serves as a board member of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Cure is the Washington
DC based think tank dedicated to culture, race and poverty. As a board member for CURE, T.W. provides strategic guidance to the CURE staff and CEO, Starr Parker, a nationally syndicated media contributor. In this role, he engages a national network of conservative black pastors to advocate for policy solutions.
T.W. has a Juris Doctor degree from Oklahoma City University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Cameron University. T.W. has been married to his college sweetheart Devon (a college professor) for fifteen years. They are the proud parents of eleven year old Audrey Grace and seven year old Tahrohon Wayne, II.