The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

January 8, 2013

Shannon elected 1st black Oklahoma House speaker



"We have seen that dependence on government leads to poverty, addiction and human failure," Shannon said. "The best social program in the world is a high-paying job."

Shannon was sworn into office by Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Judge David Lewis, a former Comanche County judge who Shannon said encouraged him to attend law school.

After his election, Shannon received a standing ovation and hugged his wife and two children, who were on the floor for Tuesday's votes. U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, for whom Shannon worked as a field representative before being elected to the House in 2006, sat in the gallery.

"It says a lot of wonderful things about the state that we have an African American and tribal member holding this job, a lot of good thing about his (caucus) that chose him, and a lot of great things about the Republican Party," said Cole, also a member of the Chickasaw Nation, who is beginning his fifth term in Congress. "But mostly it says a lot of great things about T.W. and his family. He's a quintessential Oklahoma success story."

Also on Tuesday, the House voted to select Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, as House speaker pro tem in a party-line vote over Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs.

In the Senate, Sapulpa Republican Sen. Brian Bingman was voted into a second term as Senate president pro tem, while Claremore Democratic Sen. Sean Burrage will again serve as Senate minority leader.


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