Jack Austin Jr. was sworn in as assistant chief of the Choctaw Nation April 29 at the tribal capitol, Tushka Homma, by Tribal Council Speaker Delton Cox.
Austin has had a long career with the Choctaw Nation. He began employment at the Choctaw Nation Health Care system in 1991, soon after being honorably discharged from the Army. He holds a master’s degree in education. He began his journey with the healthcare system in the material management department. Just prior to being selected as assistant chief, Austin was the program director for the Choctaw Nation Recovery Center.
He and his wife, Philisha, have been married 24 years. They have three children. Clark, 18, is attending Carl Albert State College. Malacha, 16, will be a senior next year at Talihina High School.
“Sam is our youngest blessing at the energetic age of 4,” said Austin. “I feel I was raised in the midst of the tribe during most of my youth. Both parents were and are still serving Choctaw people. I have been to many events throughout our Choctaw Nation growing up. I can still remember the State of the Nation address being given by the chief of that time under a brush arbor on the Council House grounds.”
Attending the Lighthouse Cathedral Church the past 30 years, Austin has served as a board member there the last 10 years and enjoys work as a youth pastor, teaching weekly youth classes.
New Choctaw Chief Gary Batton was present as Austin was administered the oath of office. According to the Choctaw Constitution, ratified in 1983, the assistant chief is appointed by the chief and approved by a vote of the Tribal Council.
“Our goals moving forward will align with the tribe’s philosophy to ‘do what is best for Choctaws’,” said Batton. “Assistant Chief Austin, the Tribal Council and I are all looking forward to working together.”