Former Rep. Shane Jett takes economic development job with Citizen Potawatomi

Shane Jett, a Tecumseh, Oklahoma native — a former state representative for House District 27 and a member of the Cherokee Nation, has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC). 

Jett was elected to the Oklahoma legislature in 2004, and served the district until 2010. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration – majoring in International Business with a minor in Spanish – from Oklahoma Baptist University. He formed the Legislature’s first Native American Caucus with Republican state Representatives Lisa Johnson Billy (a Chickasaw), Paul Wesselhöft (Citizen Potawatomi), and other American Indian legislators. 

Jett left the Legislature in 2010 to make an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination in Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional district, seeking the seat vacated by now-Gov. Mary Fallin. . 

Jett has advocated diversification of economic activity in “Indian country,” counseling tribes to avoid being too dependent upon gaming. He has pressed for Oklahoma tribes to seek contracting alternatives with the U.S. military, including Tinker Air Force Base.

Jett is an adjunct professor at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, where he teaches World Geography and Culture. He is an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and speaks three languages; including Spanish and Portuguese. For the past year, Jett has been an English language instructor at The Language Company in Shawnee, where he teaches English as a Second Language to international students.

Formed in 2003, the Citizen Potawatomi development corporaiton is a nationally recognized Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing loans to Native American-owned businesses. 

According to the tribe, the corporation “also offers business technical assistance, an employee loan program, and administers programs to promote financial literacy.” The group “has made hundreds of loans to CPN members and employees and to Native-owned businesses, with loans totaling more than $20 million since its inception. 

In comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, Jett said, “Because we are a CDFI, we are able to provide services for Native American-owned businesses that many traditional lenders are unwilling or unable to provide.” 
NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.