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HomeGovernmentCandidatesBilly Keene hosts announcement dinner in the Hominy Village

Billy Keene hosts announcement dinner in the Hominy Village

Keene is running for a seat on the 9th ON Congress in the June 3 General Election seeking a second four-year term.

HOMINY VILLAGE, Okla. – In his bid seeking reelection to the Osage Nation Congress, Billy Keene hosted an afternoon meal here where he shared highlights of his campaign with fellow Osage community members.

Keene is running for a seat on the 9th ON Congress in the June 3 General Election seeking a second four-year term. He hosted an afternoon meal on March 24, catered by Osage-owned Ah-Tha-Tse Catering on March 24 to a crowd of about 60 attendees.

“Billy is a strong leader, every time that I called him, he would call me back and I would ask him ‘what’s going on?’ and he would tell me. That’s what information is all about and he’s very informative and if everybody was that way in any kind of official capacity, we’d be in a lot better shape,” Osage Minerals Councilman Myron Red Eagle said when introducing Keene, who is also his nephew.

Keene opened, acknowledging “it hasn’t been rainbows and sunshine these first four years” and said “I think we could’ve done a lot more with housing with our (federal American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 funds), we have some elder housing (projects), but I think we could’ve built 60-70 homes … The truth of the matter is now an Osage goes to college and comes back with a degree, if they’re not making close to six figures (salary), they can’t get financing to get a new house in Osage County. We need to fill that void, there’s a glaring need for that.”

In discussing his Congressional service, Keene mentioned legislation he sponsored or co-sponsored that he’s proud of, including a bill to extend government employee paid maternity leave to 12 weeks. He also sponsored a bill to amend the Osage preference hiring law to include Osage descent and non-members. “There’s Osages in attendance here that live Osage, they dance with us, they pray with us in our churches, they were being shut out of our employment preference because they’re enrolled with another tribe that doesn’t allow dual enrollment, so we fixed that.”

Keene also mentioned his bill to update tribal law regarding larceny and receiving stolen property and his service on the Congressional Rules and Ethics Committee. At that time, a 2020 court ruling declared the Congressional removal process (of a government official) unconstitutional. While serving on the Rules and Ethics Committee, Keene helped revise the removal process “so in the future, God forbid, we ever have to exercise that process, we now know it’s legal and it’s constitutional,” he said.

In going forward, Keene said he would like to see more town hall-style events for officials and constituents to communicate more, as well as supporting the three villages and possible laws to help them. “In closing, Chief Fred Lookout said that ‘if you let your white man tongue say what’s in your Indian heart, you’ll do great things for the people’ … I stand on the shoulders of giants and let’s go win an election,” Keene said. 

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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