I am pleased to announce my candidacy for the Osage Nation Congress. Over the last decade I have served as Director of the Osage Nation Roads Department and seen the potential of our Nation to overcome our differences. Also, while serving on boards in the community, I have seen the potential for our Nation to work with the city, county and state. This type of cooperation produces results that benefit all Osages, especially our elders and children.
Osage children are our most important resource, and the opportunities available to them should be our highest priority. I believe our children and grandchildren deserve meaningful opportunities in the arts, sciences, and trades that, if available, would help them explore their strengths. These strengths can turn into passions, which can turn into careers, and well planned initiatives that provides these opportunities will have my support. This includes K-12, college, or career techs to ensure the future success of our Nation.
Cooperation and collaboration between local governments is a practice that benefits all. The Pawhuska Business Development Center is proof of that benefit. As Chairman of the Osage County Industrial Authority, I had the pleasure of collaborating with the City of Pawhuska, the Osage Nation, and Tri County Tech to create learning opportunities, business consulting services, and a business incubator that is available to everyone, including planned tenants who are Osage entrepreneurs. This type of cooperation and collaboration in the Osage Nation Congress can and will be a force for regional prosperity.
A strong economy is also built on reliable infrastructure, developed from a sustainable budget. Over the past eight years, the Osage Nation Roads Department has utilized self-determination opportunities to handle our own affairs and employ fellow Osages in positions that were once filled by non-Osages in federal government agencies. During that time, the program has enjoyed clean audits without negative findings, resulting in a steady stream of funding to improve the infrastructure we use every day. In cooperation with the other local governments, the department has executed dozens of agreements to make our bridges and roads safer. In Congress, I will continue to prioritize not just our roads, but our water, sustainable energy, and communications so that our infrastructure stays resilient and able to support growth.
This is especially important at the core of our Nation where we are making strides in the development of the Master Campus Plan. This plan will modernize our facilities, enhance employee’s workdays, and be a regional example for innovation. As we grow as a Nation, these changes will make the Osage Nation a healthier, more productive place to work while reducing operating costs. I have served on this committee and will continue to encourage the enactment of this plan.
Lastly, I understand the importance of the Minerals Estate and will ensure that an informed, common sense approach is taken anytime issues arise that affect the powers afforded to the Minerals Council in the Constitution and the 1906 Act.