This past week has been exciting for NACA policy priorities. Two bills were introduced in Congress that directly address them:
NACA is also very pleased to share that Category Management reform is on the table with the House and Senate Small Business Committees for inclusion in the 2022 NDAA. The House Small Business Committee staff confirmed that language is near completion. We will have a working draft shortly. NACA is gearing up to fully support this effort that would create an exception for 8(a) contracts for inclusion in Category Management. Soon you will be hearing from us about Facility Clearance, CMMC, and Buy Indian as well.
So, as you can see, we are marching forward on NACA's policy priorities. While much is being accomplished, there is still work to be done. We look forward to working with NACA Members, allies, Congress, the Administration, and others to work tirelessly to reach these important objectives.
NACA continues to be gratified by the broad-based, positive response we are receiving on our policy priorities both in Congress and within the Administration. It looks like we will now have at least three legislative initiatives in this session of Congress, with the prospect of a couple of more.
At the one year anniversary as Executive Director, I wanted to reintroduce myself and this powerful voice for Native contracting rights - the Native American Contractors Association (NACA).
My name is Joe Valandra, and I am an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. I have over 30 years of experience supporting and working in Tribal economic development. I am a graduate of the University of South Dakota Business School and the University of Minnesota Law School.
Before joining NACA, I was Managing Director of VAdvisors, LLC for 12 years. VAdvisors took on projects primarily aimed at bringing large-scale economic development opportunities to Native American communities. To achieve these aims, VAdvisors focused on some of the most pressing challenges facing Native communities - healthcare, broadband, cultural preservation, gaming rights and more - and worked toward developing the technological tools and forging the stakeholder alliances to address them.
From 2005 to 2007, I served as Chief of Staff of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), The NIGC, an independent federal agency, has been charged with ensuring that gaming continues to thrive and is protected through regulation.
Other executive roles include: Board Member of numerous companies in multiple industries; CEO and Chairman of a world-wide manufacturer and supplier of bingo and pull-tab gaming products and electronic equipment; Vice President of Development for a multi-jurisdictional casino development and management company; and Bankruptcy Trustee and interim-CEO for a multi-state retail company.
My professional background illustrates my unwavering commitment to expanding, supporting, and advocating for economic opportunities for Native communities. As Executive Director, I will continue to use my expertise and experience to advance NACA's mission.
NACA exists for Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) to collaboratively protect our contracting rights and access to business development through advocacy and education. Doing business with the federal government via the 8(a) program has become an effective, transformative, and powerful economic development opportunity for Native communities. Some examples of how participation in the 8(a) program enables impactful investment in Native communities include:
NACA’s unique membership is a unifying voice and an exceptional example of cooperation within Indian Country. Its Board of Directors ensures that our members and Native 8(a) businesses are represented in policy and legislative matters aligning with NACA's mission.
NACA members and other Native communities have established strong small businesses and qualified 8(a) companies that are bringing efficiency and effectiveness to many federal agencies through the goods and services they provide. With strong advocacy and education, NACA will continue to work with our membership, federal agencies, Congress, and allies to proactively and aggressively make federal contracting opportunities available to qualified Native businesses.
At this time, one of the most effective ways to expand contracting opportunities for qualified Native businesses is federal policy change. Federal policies must encourage - even require - the removal of key regulatory and procedural barriers that stand in the way of self-determination for all Native communities. By removing these obstacles, qualified Native businesses can compete more effectively and for a larger share of federal contracts.
Making these changes is a win-win for the federal government and Native communities alike. The federal government will receive expanded products and services from exceptional, qualified Native businesses, and Native communities will benefit from increased economic opportunities and positive outcomes.
NACA exists for Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Alaska Native Corporations to collaboratively protect our contracting rights and access to business development through advocacy and education.