Tribal Leader Joins Congressional Race

By Steve Jackson

There is another challenger in the race for the Congressional seat currently held by Cathy McMorris Rogers. Joe Pakootas is currently the CEO for the Colville Federal Tribal Corporation, and former Tribal Chairman. He has announced his intention to run as a Democrat in the race against Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers.
Pakootas cites among his accomplishments, turning around the fortunes of the Colville business community.

Pakootas: “I've brought that corporation from 8.5 million dollars in the red to 2.3 million dollars in the back within 9 months.”

Pakootas says in his various role with the tribe in various work, including tribal Chairman, he made numerous trips to Washington DC in lobbying efforts with the congress working on issues that included negotiating a settlement for the tribe on grand Coulee dam, land settlements, education funding, and the Violence against Women act.
Pakootas feels he has a good chance to unseat McMorris Rogers, who has held the 5th congressional district seat in Congress since 2005. He says he believes events in the last year have strengthened the resolve of voters that change is necessary:
Pakootas: “I think the chances for taking back the seat , because if the government shutdown, the debt ceiling issues , and because of the lack of compassion for the 5th congressional district. The number of people that are on food stamps, the number unemployed, and the number at the poverty level.”

Pakootas says he feels his Native American ancestry is an advantage in the race in that he has a better understanding of the plight of those who are disadvantaged.  He also cites the tribes’ success in creating 400 new jobs for the Federal tribal Corporation in the last two years as a sign of his efforts to deal with such issues.
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