INCHELIUM Colville Tribal Federal Corp. leader Joe Pakootas has announced his bid to challenge U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the fall election.
Inchelium resident Pakootas, 56, said he will run for the seat held by 5th District Rep. McMorris Rodgers since 2005. Ferry County is part of the 5th District.
“A lot of people approached me about running,” he said Monday. “A lot of 5th District Democratic leaders also approached me.”
He said he will emphasize jobs, health care, education and the problem of economic inequality.
Pakootas acknowledged that his work is cut out for him in trying to unseat McMorris Rodgers, a Republican who is chairwoman of the House Republic Conference. She is from Spokane.
Pakootas served on the Colville Business Council for 16 years, five of those as chairman. He has been Colville Tribal Federal Corp. CEO since January 2010.
Colville Tribal Federal Corp recently was recognized as the University of Washington’s minority business of the year.
Last year, Pakootas announced plans to seek the state Senate seat vacated by Bob Morton, but eventually opted not to seek election.
He and his wife, Cheryl, have four adult children and six grandchildren. He and his wife have owned and operated a convenience store and gas station since 1985. He has coached youth sports and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington in 2006.
He was a finalist in the 2001 Seattle Seahawks NFL Community Quarterback program for positive impact on the community and served on the governor’s Digital Learning Commons committee for statewide distance learning.
Pakootas also led the tribe’s efforts against Canadian mining company Teck for the company’s pollution of the Columbia River.