Tahrohon Wayne Shannon (born February 24, 1978) is a Chickasaw American banker and politician from Oklahoma. Shannon, currently President/CEO of Chickasaw Community Bank (formerly Bank2) and State Highway Commissioner for Central Oklahoma was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives from his hometown of Lawton in 2006. In a ceremony on January 8, 2013, Shannon took the oath of office to be Oklahoma’s first African-American Speaker of the House. Shannon stepped down as the Speaker of the House to run for the Republican nomination in the special Senate election to succeed U.S. Senator Tom Coburn.
Despite Tea Party support and endorsements that included U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Shannon lost the Republican nomination for the Senate to U.S. Representative James Lankford by almost 20 points.
Early life and career
Born in Oklahoma on February 24, 1978, Shannon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Cameron University and holds a Juris Doctor 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. An enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, he worked as the chief administrative officer for Chickasaw Nation Enterprises.
Shannon attends Bethlehem Baptist Church in Lawton. He met his wife, Devon (Murray), at Cameron University and married her in 2001. They have two children, a daughter and son. Today, he operates a home-based public relations business.
Shannon was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2006, beating opponent Janice Drewry in the general election. He rose to leadership in the state House, where he served as deputy majority whip in his first term, chaired the transportation committee in his second term and was elected speaker-designate in his third term. On January 8, 2013, Shannon took the oath of office to be the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
He has advocated for identifying and selling off state-owned properties that were not being fully utilized. Shannon sponsored an eight-year plan to divert state income tax revenue to repairing Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridges.
As Speaker, Shannon authored legislation to create a long-term plan to address the maintenance of state-owned properties and consolidate property management entities.
The first sale under the program to sell off state-owned properties was the sale of a former studio for the state public television station for $130,000. The next properties up for sale are a townlot in Buffalo and 5.58 acres in Marietta.
Shannon advocated a controversial measure to require Oklahoma recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) to perform at least 35 hours of work activities or be denied aid. The work requirement was scaled back after the cost of providing job training to SNAP recipients became clear.
GOPAC, an organization whose mission it is to support up-and-coming Republican leaders, added Shannon to its national advisory board in 2013.
House District 62 encompasses Lawton, Oklahoma and its surrounding communities.