Oklahoma Speaker of the House Visits East Central University - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Oklahoma Speaker of the House Visits East Central University

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ADA, OK--One of Oklahoma's top leaders--who is making quite a name for himself--visited a local university today to discuss the state's future.

Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon addressed a room of about 75 people at East Central University's new business center.       

"When you compare us to what's happening nationally, or in other states, we are very blessed," Shannon said to a crowded room.

During his speech and Q & A session, Shannon covered topics such as state income tax, property maintenance, and The Affordable Care Act. 

Beyond the political fine print, Shannon--who was elected the state's first African American speaker of the house--says he wants Oklahomans to know who he is and what he stands for.  

"I'm a conservative, I believe in less government, I believe in making sure Oklahoma is the best place to start a family and to create a business."

Pontotoc County representative Todd Thomsen says he appreciates Shannon as a friend and colleague, and that he believes in his leadership abilities.

"He has the confidence, he has the character, that makes him marketable for a lot of things," said Thomsen. "I think he has the leadership qualities that make him really desirable to be a leader. I think people gravitate towards him."

January 8th will mark the one-year anniversary of Shannon holding the speaker of the house title, and although he says he's proud of where Oklahoma is as a state, he says there's still a long way to go.

"We've, frankly, got a history of generational poverty here in Oklahoma, we've got substance abuse issues, and I think those are symptoms of a much larger problem," said Shannon. "What we've got is a real breakdown in the family unit. So what we can do with policies that encourage strong families in Oklahoma, that's how we turn things around.

During the early two-thousands, Speaker Shannon lived in Ada. Previously the chief administrative officer for Chickasaw Nation Enterprises, Shannon says Governor Anoatubby was one of his mentors, and somebody whose leadership he greatly admires.