OKLA. CITY —
Oklahoma’s Republican House Speaker T.W. Shannon announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate Wednesday morning with a goal to preserve God given values that do not originate from government, he said.
A crowd of nearly 100 supporters packed the Jim Thorpe Association as Shannon spoke with his wife Devon at his side.
“Friends that is the firm foundation on which our nation stands,” Shannon said. “And at the core of those rights is that which I believe the human heart desires more than anything. That’s freedom. Freedom to worship — freedom to speak your mind — freedom to live as you choose to pursue any dream you see fit.”
Also running for U.S. Senate is Congressman James Lankford, R-Edmond. Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma’s First Congressional District on Monday said he will not be running for Senate.
No Democrats have announced their bid for the Senate seat. Democrat Kenneth Corn, a former state senator, said on Monday that he will not seek the U.S. Senate position being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn.
Shannon said he is concerned what type of a country his children will inherit as adults. Hard work and perserverance were once enough to succeed in business, Shannon said. Individuals striving to succeed today are forced to face a maze of unreasonable federal regulations that hinders progress, he added.
“It used to be that in America, you could see any doctor that you wanted,” Shannon said. “You could buy whatever health insurance you could afford, but today Obamacare forces us to purchase health insurance we may not want and covers health procedures we probably don’t even need.”
Freedom has been under assault during the past six years, said Shannon, who vowed to further protect families’ values by saying “no” to spending and debt.
“Standing by and doing nothing as our country goes so far in the wrong direction just is not an option for me,” Shannon said. “I firmly believe what we do in public office is a ministry.”
Shannon feels the same calling that he recognized eight years ago when he decided to run for the state House of Representatives, he said. Oklahoma needed energetic conservative leaders put government back on the right path, he said.
“During my time in office I was able to cut taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, eliminate millions in waste and duplication and fundementally reform our state’s workers’ compensation system, saving business owners $140 million a year,” said Shannon, who will turn 36 in February.
He also supported the state’s work requirement for any person receiving food stamps to work at least 20 hours per week. Conservatism is about removing people from welfare, he said. Shannon’s vision has been to show the rest of the country what type of prosperity can come from conservative policies, he said.
“There will also be room to improve, but what we have now is a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country,” Shannon said. The state’s unemployment rate in January was 5.4 percent, said Ken Miller, state treasurer.
Shannon said he has worked to prevent more state debt from accumulating. Government should not spend more money than it has, he said. Oklahoma has reduced its bond indebtedness by $85 million because of conservative principles that Shannon supported, he said.
“If we stay on this path, refusing to add more debt, we will have paid off 85 percent of our bond indebtedness in 15 years,” Shannon said. “That’s a great example for Washington, D.C.”
Lowering the tax burden and restoring the military are part of Shannon’s core beliefs, he said. Human life must be protected from the moment of conception, he continued. The U.S. Constitution was not written to restrict liberties but to limit the tyranny of government, he said.
“I believe we are guaranteed the right to bear arms and that we should not restrict that right,” Shannon said. “I believe the private sector should create jobs — not government.”
The nation can unite as conservatives and elect leaders who will choose the right policies, he said.
“Or we can continue to elect the same status-quo politicians to Washington, D.C.,” Shannon said.
Shannon will continue in his role as House Speaker during his Senate campaign. He was re-elected to the state House in 2012. His term expires this year. His name will not appear on the ballot for re-election to the state House as Oklahoma law prohibits candidates from running for more than one office at a time, said Paul Ziriax, secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board.
The Republican National Committee recently named Shannon one of its “Rising Stars.” Shannon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Cameron University and a law degree from Oklahoma City University.
His professional experience includes working as a self-employed consultant.
He and his wife Devon have two children, Audrey Grace and T.W. II. Shannon teaches Sunday school at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Lawton where his family worships.
“You have my pledge, friends, that if you send me to the United States Senate, I will make every moment count working on your behalf,” Shannon said.
TO LEARN MORE about the U.S. Senate campaign of state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, go to http://www.twshannon.com.