WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today delivered the following remarks at a bicameral roundtable discussion on “Building Native America Together: Infrastructure Innovation and Improvements for the New Administration and Indian Country.” The roundtable was hosted by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the House Committee on Natural Resources.
The discussion focused on infrastructure needs and opportunities in Indian country, particularly in the areas of transportation, water, broadband and connectivity, and community development.
The roundtable featured tribal leaders and experts from across the country, including:
- Mr. Delbert Rexford, special assistant and advisor to the president for the Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation
- the Honorable Edward Manuel, chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation
- the Honorable Leslie Shakespeare, councilman for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation;
- Mr. William Rudnicki, tribal administrator for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota;
- the Honorable James Floyd, principal chief for the Muscogee (Creek Nation);
- Mr. Ryan Rusche, tribal attorney for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation;
- Ms. Belinda Nelson, chairperson for Gila River Telecommunications, Inc.;
- Mr. Derek Dyson, attorney for the Navajo Utility Authority;
- Mr. Jon Whirlwind Horse, facilities manager for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Education Agency;
- Mr. Jeff Seidel, senior vice president of Dougherty & Company LLC;
- Mr. Stephen Hockins, strategic planner for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians; and
- the Honorable Darrell Shay, vice chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes.
Click here to watch video of the entire roundtable.
Chairman Hoeven’s remarks:
“I want to welcome you all to this roundtable and thank you for participating in a discussion on infrastructure… I think it is so important, because there has been a lot of discussion about doing an infrastructure bill this year and we all hope very much that it will happen.
“Roads promote economic development and help tribes provide good governmental services. In addition, modernizing the way tribes access financing to build schools, healthcare facilities, and mitigate flooding impacts on tribal lands are essential for healthy and vibrant tribal communities.
“So today it’s all about not only discussing the needs, but also finding innovative approaches, incentivizing private investment, reducing regulatory barriers and taking other steps that we can in this effort. Those solutions that work best are those that come from you, in Indian country, who understand what the needs are.”