Tribal Government & News
Forum attracts all nine candidates
More than 50 Tribal members and some staff members attended the Tribal Council Candidates Forum held Wednesday, July 23, in the Community Center.
All nine candidates running for Tribal Council introduced themselves, answered two rounds of questions and gave closing statements. The forum lasted 90 minutes.
The scheduled question-and-answer session was in the same format as in the last three years, said master of ceremonies Chris Leno, Acting General Manager of the Tribe.
Candidates were given one minute to introduce themselves, two minutes to respond to audience-generated questions and two-and-a-half minutes to make a closing statement.
Questions from the audience focused on such long-standing Tribal issues as improving communication between Tribal Council and the general membership, bringing a more respectful tone to the communications, and making Tribal Council proceedings more transparent to allow Tribal members to better participate in Tribal affairs.
There was a comment that Tribal adults are not modeling good behavior for Tribal youth, an area that received much attention.
Other questions asked how to involve community youth with more opportunities and reduce the wait list for the Tribe's K-5 programs.
The definition of Tribal blood, what the Tribal position on marijuana use ought to be, term limits, prioritizing per capita and creating a more unified and respectful Tribe also received attention.
AV Sound Technician Wendell Olson and his son, summer intern Jacob Olson, taped the event for broadcast over the Tribal website, where it remains available for viewing at www.grandronde.org under the Video tab.
The nine running for Tribal Council include incumbents Reyn Leno, Kathleen Tom and June Sherer. Challengers include former three-term Tribal Council member Chris Mercier. The remaining candidates who have not previously served on Tribal Council are Brenda Tuomi, Ann Lewis, Tonya Gleason-Shepek, Cory Meneley and Kevin Simmons.
Ballots were mailed to Tribal voters with verified signatures on July 23, the day of the forum, and are due back by Election Day, which is Saturday, Sept. 6.
Tribal members must be registered to vote and may register by creating a verified signature card at any time up to and including Election Day.
The Election Office is open through Election Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, excluding a half-hour lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. The Election Office phone number is 503-879-2271.
As of June 30, the day of nominations for Tribal Council, 3,996 Tribal members were 18 or older, making them eligible to register to vote. In 2013, 1,205 ballots were cast out of 3,924 Tribal members who were eligible to vote.
Tribal members may vote for up to three candidates to fill three positions on the next Tribal Council. The three top vote-getters will serve for the next three years.