Tribal Government & News

Six candidates attend Tribally-sponsored forum

07.27.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Elections, Events

Tribal General Manager David Fullerton started the Wednesday, July 26, Candidates Forum held in the Community Center by announcing that six candidates for Tribal Council were in attendance.

Fullerton said that candidate Angela Schlappie had informed him that she was dropping out of the race and would not attend. However, because of printing deadlines, she will still appear on the sample ballot that appears in this issue of Smoke Signals, as well as ballots mailed to Tribal voters.

Schlappie declined to elaborate on why she ended her first run for Tribal Council when contacted on Thursday, July 27.

The Candidates Forum attracted approximately 40 people to hear the six remaining candidates discuss a variety of issues. The forum was recorded by A/V Network Technician Wendell Olson and will be posted on the Tribal website under the News tab and then Video.

After audience members were served a meal of sandwiches, chips, cookies and bottled water, Fullerton, who also moderated the 90-minute forum, went over the rules.

Candidates were allotted three minutes each for an opening statement and then five questions were drawn from a revolving bingo ball cage and each candidate had two minutes to answer each question. The forum wrapped up with each candidate getting two minutes for a closing statement.

Opening statements were made, in order, by Tribal Council member Chris Mercier, challengers Michael Langley, David Lewis and Lisa Leno, Tribal Council member Tonya Gleason-Shepek and challenger Mark Mercier.

The first question asked candidates what their top two priorities would be if they are elected and the second question posed how each candidate would seek balance in the Tribe and on Tribal Council.

The third question asked what each candidate’s most important career accomplishment had been and how they could apply that to serving on Tribal Council.

The fourth and perhaps most vexing question asked how candidates would keep drug users and drugs out of Tribal housing and the final question asked candidates how they would work to ensure fair hiring practices within the Tribal government.

During the answers of the five questions, myriad other Tribal topics were mentioned, such as enrollment requirements, protecting the endowments, economic development, improved communication, long-term planning, healing relationships with other Tribes and empowering the general membership.

Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez supervised the clock and the overall atmosphere of the forum was cordial and respectful.

The Tribally-sponsored forum was the fourth such event for the candidates, who also appeared at forums held in Grand Ronde, Portland and Eugene put on by the Grand Ronde PAC. Schlappie participated at the most recent forum held in Eugene on Saturday, July 22.