Tribal Government & News

Forum attracts all eight council candidates

08.03.2015 Brent Merrill Tribal Council, Elections

As many as 60 Tribal members, a handful of staff members and all eight Tribal Council candidates attended the Candidates Forum held Wednesday, July 29, at the Tribal Community Center.

After Tribal Elder and former Tribal Council member Val Grout gave the invocation, the meeting was called to order by Tribal Assistant General Manager Bryan Langley, who acted as the host for the evening event.

Langley said candidates would answer questions in the order they appear on the ballot and that questions could only come from enrolled Tribal members.

General Manager Dawn Doar operated the clock and Enrollment Specialist Jolanda Catabay verified that questions were from Tribal members.

All eight candidates running for Tribal Council introduced themselves with opening statements. Each candidate answered three rounds of questions, including a question posed to them from the Tribe’s executive office, and then each candidate gave a closing statement. The forum took about 100 minutes to complete.

Langley said the question-and-answer session would be similar to past events with all questions posed to candidates determined by random draw.

Each candidate was allowed three minutes for an opening remark and introduction and they were given two minutes to respond to each question. Each candidate was allowed three minutes for a closing statement.

Candidates talked about a wide range of topics in their opening statements, including bringing unity and stability to the leadership and the Tribe, being thankful for the benefits Tribal members receive in terms of education and health, concern about future gaming competition, the importance of culture, the importance of the Constitution, ridding the community of drugs and thanking past leadership for their efforts to bring the Tribe where it is today.

The question from the executive office asked each candidate to detail their top three priorities if elected to Tribal Council.

Question topics from the audience ranged from enrollment issues to the protection of the Tribe’s endowments and the Constitution. Candidates were asked if they supported a new swimming pool in the community, what they were most proud of the Tribe for, if they were team players and if they were independent thinkers.

Membership also wanted to know what each candidate would focus on if elected, how they would keep the Tribe strong, what ideas they had for Tribal member jobs and what they thought of a current lawsuit involving a Tribal employee suing a member of the Tribe.

Audio Visual Network Technician Wendell Olson and his son, summer intern Jacob Olson, taped the event for broadcast on the Tribe’s website, where it can be viewed at under the Video tab. Many viewers watched the broadcast live.

The eight Tribal members running for Tribal Council include incumbents Cheryle A. Kennedy and Jon A. George. Challengers include former Tribal Council members June Sherer, Steve Bobb Sr. and Kathleen Tom. The remaining candidates who have not previously served on council are Ann Lewis, Brenda Tuomi and Tammy Garrison.

 Ballots were mailed to voters with verified signatures on July 29, the same day that the forum was held, and ballots are due back by Election Day, which is Saturday, Sept.12.

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 in the Tribal Community Center is open through Thursday, Sept. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a half-hour lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Election Office’s phone number is 503-879-2271.

Tribal members may vote for up to three candidates to fill three positions on Tribal Council. The top three vote-getters will serve through September 2018.