Note: I wrote this back in September, I just wanted people to see this. If you haven’t heard that name yet, you should look it up. Who is he? He’s the Speaker of the House here in my home state of Oklahoma. He’s African-American and also a member of the Chickasaw Nation. First elected back in 2006 as the first Republican from his district in Lawton, OK, he has risen steadily through the ranks in his six years as a representative. First time I took serious notice of him was around late 2011 when the State House GOP were choosing a successor for then House Speaker Kris Steele a big establishment guy who was term-limited from running again. House GOP rank and file urged him to run and won over the Speaker’s chosen candidate. He was then elected officially Speaker at the start of the 2013-2014 legislative session here.
Before his election, the leadership didn’t have strong relations with the House Republican caucus and always blocked bills from coming to a floor vote cause they were ‘controversial’ like, banning Agenda 21 from being implemented in Oklahoma, banning sharia law and other such pieces of legislation. Also there was a huge fallout in 2012 during a debate to cut taxes which ultimately failed due to poor leadership and handling of differing proposals of how to go about it as well as failure to address much needed worker’s comp reform. After his election as Speaker, relations between rank and file and leadership improved dramatically.
Unlike previous Speakers, he often speaks with House members about their concerns and/or proposals in his office. Also very unlike most other Oklahoma politicians, he takes full advantage of social media and takes to twitter often. Even replies back to tweets sent to him. It’s also notable that 2013 was a dramatic improvement cause worker’s comp reform was finally passed which will dramatically lower costs of doing business here in Oklahoma as soon as it takes effect in early 2014. They also did pass a quarter tax cut, though they delayed it by a year for 2015, they also in placed a further for 2016 to take it down to 4.85 so long there’s a steady flow of revenue coming in. There’s also still issue with pension reform and government spending which is at an all time high, but I’ll talk about that in another column.
After the legislative session ended or around that time the RNC invited TW Shannon to speak at scheduled events across the country. Also they’ve listed him as one of their rising stars which I very much appreciate them doing. I watched him and one of the other rising stars Karen Agness of the Enlightened Women’s Network speak on Hannity on Fox News. I was very impressed of how they answered questions. Defund Obamacare; yes. Immigration reform; border security first. And while I think there’s many other young GOP individuals who’ve more than earned their spot on the Rising Stars program, the RNC gets some things right. It’s incorrect to say they get everything wrong, but again something I’ll talk about in another time.
I’m ultimately very proud that along with my state’s House Speaker, my own federal representative Jim Bridenstine is rising high and fast. When talking about rising stars, make sure to look at not only in Congress or governor mansions, but also in the state legislatures. Keep your eye peeled.