Former Oklahoma speaker to head national GOP group

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) _ Former Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon has been named chairman of a national Republican group seeking to recruit and train GOP candidates from more diverse communities and backgrounds.

The Republican State Leadership Committee announced Wednesday that Shannon will serve as chair of its Future Majority Project. The group's goal is to recruit 250 new, diverse candidates and see at least 50 of those elected to office.

Shannon was both the youngest and first African-American speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives when he was elected speaker in 2013. He left his post to launch an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate and now works for a Tulsa-based consulting firm.

Shannon will serve with co-chairs Govs. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada.