White House 2016

Why President Obama Should Come To Spokane

I could use your help motivating President Obama to visit Spokane. In June, 2016, the Spokane Tribe was designated a Promise Zone by the White House. There are 22 Promise Zones in the nation. New Promise Zones have a tradition of hosting a launch event soon after designation. The Spokane Tribe’s launch event is scheduled for December 1st.

I asked our Promise Zone officials in Washington, DC, to invite President Obama to the Tribe’s event. In response, they requested that I provide some compelling reasons why he should attend. Below is the email I sent to our DC colleagues that outlines the compelling reasons why the President should come to Spokane. Our DC Promise Zone officials are intelligent, creative, motivated, and tireless – some of the hardest workers around. If they can’t attract the President to Spokane, than I don’t know who can (aside from the President himself). Not only are they helping the Spokane Tribe but, because of the Tribe’s local partnerships, they’re helping our entire region.

We have a reasonable chance to attract President Obama to Spokane. Our odds improve if you share this post. The more it bounces around the internet, the better.


From: Mike Tedesco
Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2016 6:46 PM
To: Chris; Farah
Cc: Mike Tedesco
Subject: A Few Compelling Reasons Why the President Should Visit


Chris and Farah,

It was great to see you and the team last week. The more I get to know everyone, the more convinced I am that we’re in the middle of something special. Pursuant to your request, here’s 11 compelling reasons why the President should attend the Spokane Tribe’s Promise Zone launch event on December 1 in the city of Spokane. Let’s work some magic!


11) President Obama has never visited Spokane.

There’s a reason why it’s called Spokane, and the White House just named that reason a Promise Zone. It’s quite lovely here. See: 12 Reasons To Relocate To Spokane


10) President Obama visited the first two tribal Promise Zones – Choctaw Nation and Pine Ridge – and Spokane is now part of that fraternity.

The Tribe has productive relationships with peers and colleagues at Choctaw and Pine Ridge. We anticipate leveraging the muscle memory they created within the corridors of Washington, DC, as they trail-blazed pathways to success when no one quite knew what a Promise Zone was.


9) The Spokane Tribe is part of a growing chorus of innovation within the region.

In metro Spokane, there’s a group of local folks who advocate for discredited economic development theory that stems from the 1950s and 60s. Let’s call them “Robert Moses.” Alternatively, competing for that scarce economic development dollar are a growing number of public and private entities that advocate for implementation of 21st century economic development theory. You know, crazy things like quality of life, higher education, walkability, neighborhood revitalization, diversity, sustainability, and the arts. Let’s call us “Jane Jacobs.” The Spokane Tribe is active within these circles and a Presidential visit will help innovative economic development strategies move forward.


8) The Spokane Tribe has built a successful model of collaboration between local, state, national, and international public and private stakeholders. Here’s the shortlist of Spokane Tribal economic development partners:

  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • Canada
  • Center for Justice
  • City of Airway Heights
  • City of Chewelah
  • City of Colville
  • City of Spokane
  • Dozens of departments and divisions within the federal government
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Fairchild Air Force Base
  • Gonzaga University
  • Grid Alternatives
  • Little Earth of United Tribes
  • Make It Right Foundation
  • Minnesota Housing Partnership
  • Native American Natural Foods
  • Native American Youth and Family Center
  • Native Networks
  • Northwest Area Foundation
  • Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities
  • Pinchot University
  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation
  • Salish and Kootenai Tribal College
  • Solar Energy International
  • SolarBlue
  • Spokane Public Schools
  • Spokane Regional Health District
  • Spokane Regional Transportation Council
  • Spokane Transit Authority
  • Spokane Tribal Network
  • State of Washington
  • Stevens County
  • The Democracy Collaborative
  • The Tulalip Tribes
  • Thunder Valley, CDC
  • Tri-County Economic Development District
  • UNICO Systems
  • Upper Columbia United Tribes
  • Warner Gaming
  • Wellpinit School District
  • Whole Foods
  • Wisewood, Inc.


7) The Spokane Tribe is part of a team helping to redefine economic development in a manner that truly builds community wealth.

The Spokane Tribe partners with experts in community wealth building. At the forefront of the field is The Democracy Collaborative in Washington, DC. The community wealth building model builds wealth for all income levels that participate in the market. It’s cutting edge economic development and the Spokane Tribe is part of the team that’s helping to test the model.


6) The Spokane Tribe is working with numerous public and private partners to deploy high-speed broadband to the rural areas of northeast Washington State.

Like most Native American reservations, the Spokane Tribe’s is remote and isolated. Coincidently, so are most counties and municipalities throughout northeast Washington. The Spokane Tribe is leading the way to deploy high-speed broadband to the hinterlands of Washington. Without the Spokane Tribe initiating regional partnerships and developing a deployment strategy, rural northeast Washington would have few pathways to access high speed broadband.


5) The Spokane Tribe has forged regional alliances to reintroduce salmon into the upper reaches of the Columbia River.

We’re not talking about billion-dollar retro-fits for fish ladders on Grand Coulee Dam. We’re talking affordable, innovative approaches to reestablish what was once a cornerstone of nutrition for cultures throughout the northwest and into Canada. We’re talking ecosystem restoration. We’re talking direct tourism benefits. We’re talking innovative science that achieves the hat-trick of cultural restoration, economic development, and sustainable practice.


4) The Spokane Tribe is building a public/private regional strategy to provide clean, green, high wage, and sustainable primary jobs in the alternative energy sector.

I’m afraid the details on this one are still confidential but please trust that even the President will be impressed when we launch.


3) The Spokane Tribe is a model for innovative nation building.

The Spokane Tribe is developing a 21st century model for nation-building and economic sovereignty, which is much more than just casinos. Economic Sovereignty is total vertical integration of the entire economic development delivery system. Multiple opportunities are being pursued: Tribally-owned businesses that train and employ Tribal citizens, and then contribute to the supply chain and participate in the open market. Economic sovereignty is not just about placing solar panels on rooftops – it’s about starting the manufacturing facility that builds the solar panels that are placed on roof tops. It’s about building the slot machines that go into casinos. It’s about owning the infrastructure that deploys high-speed broadband. It’s about leveraging the unique competitive advantages that come with being a sovereign nation.


2) The Spokane Tribe is reshaping the definition of resiliency.

Never down and out, the Spokane Tribe is in the throes of modeling what, exactly, resiliency is. See everything above.


1) The Spokane Tribe recently selected its first ever woman to serve as chairperson.

Her name is Carol Evans. Under her leadership the Tribe has taken giant steps toward economic sovereignty, not the least of which being a White House Promise Zone designation.


Thanks, you two. I sure hope this helps. I’m going to post this email on my blog to try and create a little buzz.

Let’s do this!

Mike Tedesco
Planning and Economic Development Director
Spokane Tribe of Indians