April 15, 2011

Akaka Chairs Hearing on the Role of the SBA 8(a) Program in Enhancing Economic Development in Indian Country

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, chaired by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), held an oversight hearing on April 7 entitled “Promise Fulfilled: The Role of the SBA 8(a) Program in Enhancing Economic Development in Indian Country.” The hearing examined the connection between the federal policy on self-determination and trust responsibility to American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, and the role of the Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) program in enhancing economic self-sufficiency for these groups. LINK
“We have found that when the federal government does business with Native 8(a) companies, we enhance our ability to meet our purchasing needs at best value while strengthening the ability of Native communities to be self-determining and self-sufficient,” said Chairman Daniel K. Akaka. “There have been great successes as well as some concerns with this program. I am encouraged to find that when SBA identified the problems, they put in new regulations to ensure that the program operates as it should.”
The Committee heard from three panels of witnesses, including Joseph Jordan, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development and Peter McClintock, Deputy Inspector General at the Small Business Administration; Jackie Johnson-Pata of the National Congress of American Indians and Julie Kitka of the Alaska Federation of Natives; and Chairman Chief Allan of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Lance Morgan, Chairman of Native American Contractors Assn. and President/CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., and Larry Hall, President of S&K Electronics, Inc.
In speaking of witness Larry Hall, Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) said, “[Larry] has developed a company that is a jewel in western Montana and benefits not only the folks on Indian Country but the economy and people outside [the Salish and Kootenai] reservation too.”
“This is truly a case where Ho-Chunk has developed a model for others to learn from,” said Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska). “I thank the SBA for not giving up on the Native 8a program, for realizing how important it is and for recognizing that there are success stories like Ho-Chunk. I sincerely appreciate their continued efforts to improve this important program for Native communities.”
Contact: Jesse Broder Van Dyke
Contact Phone: 202-224-7045
Contact E-mail: jesse_brodervandyke@akaka.senate.gov