Tribal Government & News

Kennedy, McClary and George elected to Tribal Council

09.10.2012 Ron Karten Tribal Council, Elections

And now there are nine.
With the vacation of a Tribal Council seat earlier this year, Tribal members knew they would have at least one new Tribal leader after results were tallied on Saturday, Sept. 8.
And that new Tribal Council member is Jon George, 51, who has worked for the Tribe for 18 years, most recently as a vocational rehabilitation specialist in the Portland area office. He also has been serving on the Tribe's Education Committee.
George, who finished third in the voting with 397 votes (11.7 percent of the vote), won in his first attempt at Tribal Council.
"The Tribe has spoken, and I appreciate their support," George said during a break at the Sept. 9 General Council meeting. "Approximately 400 people did want a change in a sense. … It was a hard-fought race and I appreciate the support locally and in Portland."
George cited his youth in Grand Ronde, where he grew up, and his long tenure working in Portland as reasons why he received the third most votes in the election.
George said he will work with the other eight Tribal Council members and attempt to make economic diversification of the Tribe's business interests a priority.
"For myself, I know that I have to work with eight other people," George said. "For me, it would be very presumptuous to walk in and act like I am going to change everything.
"It is about respecting the other eight people that I work with. It's about bringing up ideas, challenging ideas and looking at the economic development of this Tribe. … Just relying on gaming revenue, one cash cow, is not going to take care of the Tribe or how we are going to improve."
George said he would also support examining ways to make Spirit Mountain Casino a destination resort.
Tribal voters returned Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy to Tribal Council to serve her fifth consecutive term. Kennedy led the 13-candidate pack with 480 votes, or 14.17 percent of the vote.
"It's always very humbling," Kennedy said about her re-election and receiving the most votes. "People have to take a lot of initiative to vote."
Kennedy said Tribal membership validation of how she is performing her job is always gratifying.
"On Tribal Council, we have so many differences of opinion that sometimes I think, 'This is not moving forward' or people are not really listening to what people are saying, and that's important," she said. "But when it comes back like this, it affirms that I am doing the right thing."
Toby McClary finished second with 467 votes (13.78 percent) to earn his second consecutive term on Tribal Council.
"I am proud and honored to have been elected for another three-year term," McClary said. "It means a lot to me to be in this position. I believe that my hard work, dedication and my motivation to keep our Tribe moving forward was recognized by the membership.
"This is a very critical time for our Tribe and will require good leadership. There is a sense of unrest among our people and I can feel that. There are fears of the unknown and I can see that. It will take innovative and forward thinkers to find resolve and compassion to reach understanding. I am committed to our Tribe and its membership and will work as hard as I can to fulfill the duties of a responsible Tribal Council member."
Other candidates were former Tribal Mentorship & Workforce  Development Director Denise Harvey, 387 votes; former Tribal Chairman Mark Mercier, 320 votes; former Tribal Council member Andy Jenness, 293 votes; Brenda Tuomi, 242; Charles Haller III, 196; Lonnie Leno, 194; Jesse Knight, 179; Billy Bobb, 96; Solomon George, 75; and Allen Lane-Butler, 62.
Turnout in the 2012 election dropped slightly from 2011 with 32.4 percent of eligible Tribal members casting ballots (1,255 out of 3,867). In 2011, 32.88 percent of eligible Tribal members voted.