MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 17, 2013

Hopeful’s focus is on business

One in a series on candidates seeking office on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council.

A long-time businessman and veteran of the National Council has filed to run again.

Tom Pickering of Eufaula last served on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council in 2007, he said.

Pickering has 17 years National Council experience and is focused in particular on economic development, he said.

“People have asked me to run because of my 17 years experience,” Pickering said. “Our people need jobs and I do have a lot of experience in creating jobs and businesses.”

The election will be held Sept. 21. Pickering’s opponents for the McIntosh District Seat B are incumbent Adam Jones III and Wilson Bear.

One of the candidates must win 50 percent plus one of the vote in the primary election to secure the seat or the race will go to runoff Nov. 2.

Pickering was the chairman of the Eufaula Indian Community in the late ’80s, which also gave him valuable experience, he said.

“Under my leadership is when we developed the Eufaula Indian Community Bingo and Smokeshop,” Pickering said. “And later on, we developed that into a casino. So creating jobs and bringing revenue in is very important to me.”

Pickering said he wrote hundreds of pieces of legislation while serving on the National Council and he is very knowledgeable in tribal operations overall.

“And the decisions that we made 15 or 20 years ago were good decisions,” he said. “Because the Creek people are still enjoying the benefits of those decisions. And we need to continue for those generations to come.”

Pickering said economic development is crucial in light of the growing tribe.

“I believe we need to expand our economic development opportunities to bring in more revenue, because our tribe is growing,” he said. “And we will need more revenue in order to meet the needs of the people in health, education and other areas.”

Pickering is concerned about the elders in the tribe and their needs as well as the youth, jobs and education, and “I have a lot of experience with these issues,” he said.

“Our tribal members are getting older and they have needs that we will need to address,” he said. “The other thing is that Creek people that live outside of our area are in need and we need to assist them too.”

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