I began my career with the Choctaw Nation in 1987 as a clerk in the Purchasing Department while attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management in 1989, I accepted the position of Deputy Director at the Choctaw Nation Housing Authority, responsible for the management of Housing Authority operations. We established several programs including the Choctaw Nation Drug Elimination Program, Family Investment Center Program and the Choctaw Nation Boys and Girls Club.
In 1997, I accepted the position of Executive Director of Health. My first undertaking was constructing the new state-of-the-art Choctaw Nation Health Care Center. This was the first tribally funded health facility in the United States, and a considerable improvement over the Choctaw Nation Hospital which was constructed in the 1930s. I worked to expand and improve the Choctaw health system by adding clinics in Idabel, Stigler and Atoka and replacing or expanding outdated, inadequate clinics in Hugo, Broken Bow and McAlester. New facilities were constructed for adult inpatient alcohol and drug treatment, and a hospitality house for patients traveling long distances for appointments at the health care center in Talihina.
I was humbled to be selected for the position of Assistant Chief in May 2007, with a focus on growing our businesses and improving profitability for our Choctaw members.
As the Assistant Chief, my focus changed from improving the health system for tribal members to growing and improving the entire Choctaw Nation for the benefit of tribal members. I served as Chairman of the Choctaw Nation Business Committee, developing an economic plan that consisted of $385 million in construction to expand the gaming facilities in Durant, Grant, McAlester and Stringtown. This plan was a boost to the economy in the 10½ counties and created more than 700 jobs for the area. Upon implementation of the plan, the profitability of all Tribal businesses improved with an overall increase of 69%.
I spend as much time as possible in the communities with the tribal members I serve. I believe my main purpose it to create a better future for our Choctaw people. I pledge to protect our culture, provide opportunities for education, employment, improved healthcare, and ultimately, do what is best for Choctaws.
I live with my wife in Clayton, Oklahoma. We have two children, Stacy and David, and two grandchildren.