Tribal Government & News

Kennedy, George and Bobb elected to Tribal Council

09.08.2018 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Elections

The “700 Club” now has two members.

Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy, 70, won her seventh consecutive three-year term on Tribal Council and also became only the second candidate to receive more than 700 votes during the Saturday, Sept. 8, Tribal Council election.

Michael Langley was the first to surpass the 700-vote mark in 2017 when he received 708 votes. Kennedy received 712 votes and also topped the 20 percent threshold in the number of votes cast, receiving 20.1 percent of the votes.

Tribal voters went for experience again as they returned incumbents Kennedy and Jon A. George to Tribal Council and picked former Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr. for the third available seat.

George, 57, is the current Tribal Council secretary and will serve his third consecutive term after receiving 637 votes.

Steve Bobb Sr., 69, served on Tribal Council from 2007-13 and is the chairman of the Veterans Special Event Board. He will return to Tribal Council after receiving 606 votes.

Incumbent Brenda Tuomi, 58, was seeking re-election for the first time and finished fourth, receiving 582 votes.

Victor Cureton, 66, is a current member of the Tribe’s Election Board and was replaced by alternate Lori Sterling for the duration of the election season. He received 383 votes.

Kristina Helfrich, 42, is assistant manager at Legends restaurant at Spirit Mountain Casino. She received 321 votes.

Brent Merrill, 57, has worked for the Tribe in several positions and run for Tribal Council thrice before. He received 167 votes.

Jonathan R. George, 52, works for the Tribal Human Resources Department as a compensation/HRIS coordinator and previously worked at Spirit Mountain Casino. He received 137 votes.

Jonathan R. George, Helfrich and Cureton were making their first runs for a Tribal Council seat.

Ballots were counted at the Community Center on Saturday, Sept. 8, and election results were posted that evening on the Community Center’s front doors.

Turnout in the election was 30.8 percent with 1,278 of the 4,169 eligible Tribal members voting. Turnout decreased from 33.1 percent in 2017.


Advisory votes determined

For the second year in a row, Tribal voters were asked their opinions on three topics when they cast their ballots during the Sept. 8 election.

Tribal voters were asked the following three questions:

  • Should the Tribal Constitution be amended to allow the enrollment of applicants who have enrolled brothers or sisters by the same Tribal parent(s) and who meet the pre-1999 constitutional enrollment requirements? It was favored 839-365, for a 69.7 percent majority, which is greater than the percentage needed to successfully become an amendment to the Tribal Constitution.

  • Should Spirit Mountain Casino offer additional amenities to make it more of a destination resort was favored by a 931-284 vote, for a 76.6 percent majority.

  • Should the Tribe look into offering financial assistance for education/training in areas not covered by existing programs was favored by an 844-369 vote, for a 69.6 percent majority.

Although the results of advisory votes are not binding on Tribal Council, they do influence council decision-making.