Tribal Government & News

Seven vying for Tribal Council seats

06.25.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Elections, General Council

For the first time in 21 years, Tribal voters will not be able to check off Reynold L. Leno’s name when they vote for Tribal Council.

The current Tribal Council chairman announced on May 31 that he would not seek an eighth consecutive three-year term, ending a record 21 years of service come September.

Incumbents Chris Mercier and Tonya Gleason-Shepek, however, are seeking re-election.

Mercier, who was nominated by Tribal Council member Brenda Tuomi, will be seeking his fifth term on Tribal Council while Gleason-Shepek, who was nominated by Laura Gleason, will be seeking her second consecutive term on Tribal Council.

Tribal Council nominations occurred on Sunday, June 25, in the Tribal Community Center.

Challengers will include Tribal Youth Prevention Supervisor Lisa Leno, who received 554 votes in 2016 (three short of being elected), and Spirit Mountain Casino Internal Auditor Michael Langley, who ran for Tribal Council for the first time in 2016 and received 434 votes.

Langley was nominated by Tribal Council Vice Chair Cheryle A. Kennedy and Leno was nominated by former Tribal Council member Ed Larsen.

Other challengers include longtime Tribal Council Chairman Mark Mercier, who was nominated by Travis Stewart; former Tribal historian and current anthropology instructor at Chemeketa and Mt. Hood community colleges David Lewis, who was nominated by Sequoia Bobb Raya; and Spirit Mountain Casino IT Systems Administrative Supervisor Angela Schlappie, who was nominated by Angela Sears.

Mark Mercier served as the Tribe’s chairman from 1985 through 1996 while Lewis and Schlappie are making their first runs for Tribal Council seats.

Seven candidates is the lowest number running for Tribal Council since 2015 when eight Tribal members vied for seats.

Ballots will be mailed to voters with verified signatures on Wednesday, July 26. Tribal members may create a verified signature card at any time up to and including Election Day.

Starting Monday, July 24, through Thursday, Aug. 31, the Election Office in the Community Center will be open 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 office can be reached at 503-879-2271.

For eligible voters’ convenience, blank signature verification forms will be placed in a basket outside the Elections Office door. Completed forms with a notarized or eligible copy of ID (driver’s license, member ID card, passport, etc.) attached need to be mailed to the Election Board office for processing. The form will not be processed unless it has been notarized or includes an eligible copy of ID attached.

Election Board Chair Deanna Johnston said there are 63 forms with incorrect addresses and she encouraged Tribal members who have recently moved to contact the board to ensure that it has correct addresses to mail the ballots.

Candidate statements are due to the Publications office by 5 p.m. Friday, July 7, and will be featured in the next edition of Tilixam Wawa, scheduled to be mailed out the following week.

Candidates are limited to 600-word statements and candidates are encouraged to submit their statements via e-mail to or on a compact disk or memory drive. Hand-written statements are discouraged to avoid transcription errors and late statements will not be accepted for any reason.

Candidate statements run “as is,” meaning the Tribe’s Publications staff will not edit the submissions in any way other than to ensure they do not exceed 600 words in length.

Candidates also can contact Smoke Signals photographer Michelle Alaimo at 503-879-1961 or to schedule a time to have a portrait taken for Tilixam Wawa, or candidates can submit their own photo. Deadline for photos is also 5 p.m. Friday, July 7.

A Candidates Forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, in the Tribal gym in Grand Ronde. Questions for Tribal Council candidates may be e-mailed to Please include your name and roll number.

Ballots will be counted at the Community Center on Saturday, Sept. 9, and election results will be posted that evening on the Community Center’s front doors.

At the end of the special meeting, Lisa Leno and Lewis both won $100 door prizes and donated the money to the Youth Council and Canoe Family, respectively. Chris Bailey won the other $100 door prize.

The $50 door prizes were won by Faye Smith, Priscilla Darras, Michelle Anderson, Larsen and Hester Lagoy.

Veronica Gaston said the invocation and Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George joined Brian Krehbiel, Bobby Mercier, Travis Stewart, Chris Bailey, Lisa Leno and Kyoni Mercier in performing the cultural singing and drumming to open the meeting.