Choctaw Nation Employee Invited to Attend State of Union Address
For more information please contact:
Judy Allen, Executive Director of Public Relations
580-924-8280 ext. 2249
529 N. 16th
Durant, OK 74702
DURANT, Okla. (January 27, 2010) – Deborah Powell is on a trip of a lifetime. The Choctaw Nation Housing Authority employee is in Washington, D.C., and is set to be seated next to Michelle Obama tonight as the President of the United States gives his first State of the Union address of the year.
“We are very excited for Debbie and honored that one of our employees has been invited to attend such a prestigious event,” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle.
The invitation was extended to Debbie because she is an example of how federal stimulus funds have retained and provided jobs in rural America. The Housing Authority has received two awards totaling over $8 million through the Native American Housing Block Grants program. The grants are targeted primarily toward building additional Independent Living Homes for senior citizens in five sites across Southeastern Oklahoma – approximately 19 in Poteau, 15 in Hugo, 15 in Durant, 12 in Talihina and nine in Idabel. The construction plans were a perfect fit for Recovery Act allocations.
As Development Specialist, Debbie tracks how the stimulus funds are being spent. She tracks bids and advertisements for bids as well as following the contracts and their completion dates.
Moving to Oklahoma from her home state of Arizona, Debbie and her husband, Billy, live in Fort Towson. A former railroad dispatcher, she began working for the Housing Authority in 2007 but as funding ended for her position in Maintenance, Modernization and Rehabilitation (MMR), she was able to move to the Development Program.
“Debbie’s position at the Housing Authority in Hugo is funded 100 percent with stimulus funds,” said Duane Winship, Deputy Director of the Housing Authority.
“As a result of the Recovery Act, construction continues in the Choctaw Nation,” said Russell Sossamon, Executive Director of Choctaw Housing. “We are able to continue Chief Pyle’s vision of achieving self-sufficient lifestyles for Choctaw tribal members by providing employment opportunities throughout Southeastern Oklahoma as well as helping many of our elders have a much higher-quality of life.”
President Obama’s State of the Union speech will be broadcast live tonight at 8 p.m. CST.