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HomeElectionBilly Keene: Candidate statement for 2024 Osage Nation Congressional Election

Billy Keene: Candidate statement for 2024 Osage Nation Congressional Election

Candidate statements and announcements are a free submission offered to candidates of the 2024 Osage Nation Congressional Election.

By Billy Keene

Hello, my name is Billy Keene and I humbly ask for your support to serve another 4 years. I am the son of Denise and the late Joe Keene, father to ROK and Carson Keene, brother to Joe Keene and Caroline Hopper, the great-great grandson of Paul Red Eagle and descendant of Wah-Tiah-Keh. I am from the Zon-Zo-Li District.  Some legislation I am proud of-I co-sponsored a Bill that provides 12 weeks of paid maternity leave for our Osage Nation employees, sponsored a Bill that helped strengthen gaming oversight by allowing the Gaming Board to have their own attorney, sponsored a Bill to ban anonymous election donations, election transparency is important. I helped lead the charge to amend our Constitutional Removal process. It’s important the Osage Congress to continues to fund our Big 3 benefits at sustainable levels-Osage Health Card, Burial Assistance, and Education Assistance. We must also find ways to help Osages nationwide with other types of assistance like the school voucher program that was a big success. In the future, we need to find ways to keep helping our Osage people wherever they reside.

Protecting our Mineral Estate is paramount. Currently the Mineral Estate is under attack from multiple fronts with legal fights and paralyzing regulation. As a Congress member, I fully support funding the Mineral Council in this fight, we will not back down, our ancestors lived on this land and it’s our duty to always protect it. I am one of only two attorneys in Osage County who regularly appears in Tribal and county district courts, this legal experience gives me a keen insight into how we can strengthen our Osage sovereignty through our legal code. We await a big Reservation court decision, I have faith we will prevail. Once our Osage Reservation is affirmed, our jurisdiction will be expanded and we will need a bedrock of new laws that govern. I have the skills and background to confront this task. On the horizon is tobacco compact negotiations with anti-Indian Governor Stitt. There’s also the possibility of expanded gaming with sports betting, my legal background will be a great asset to the Osage Nation in this process.

Protecting and maintaining our Osage Nation culture will continue to be a priority. Our language program has grown by leaps and bounds. We currently offer online lessons, expanding interactive type culture programs to Osages nationwide is important. We must also find ways to expand housing for our people. Currently it’s hard for our Osages who go to school and want to come back and work for the Nation to find suitable housing.

And lastly, I think Congress can do a better job communicating with our constituents. We need to hold more town hall style community forums and invite public feedback when we address legislation. I promise to do better. Let’s work together to make the Osage Nation a better place for our kids and grandkids. Thank you for your time.

Editor’s Note: Candidate statements and announcements are not edited by the Osage News. They are a free submission offered to candidates of the 2024 Osage Nation Congressional Election.

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