Tribal Government & News
Incumbents, two challengers seeking Tribal Council seats in 2021
By Dean Rhodes
Smoke Signals editor
Tribal Council incumbents Cheryle A. Kennedy, Jon A. George and Steve Bobb Sr. and two challengers, Spirit Mountain Community Fund Executive Director Michael Cherry and Tribal Elder Perri McDaniel, are seeking election during the Sept. 11 Tribal Council election in what ties as the smallest candidate field in the history of the Tribe since Restoration.
Kennedy, 73, is the longest serving Tribal Council member in Grand Ronde history. She will be seeking her eighth consecutive three-year term on Tribal Council.
During the 2018 election, Kennedy set a record for the most votes received by a Tribal Council candidate at the time with 712 votes. That record was surpassed in 2020, which also saw only five candidates run for Tribal Council, when Lisa Leno received more than 1,000 votes and Chris Mercier and Michael Langley both received more than 900 votes.
Kennedy has served as Tribal Council chair for 15 years, including the last four years. She was nominated by Langley.
George, 60, is the current Tribal Council secretary and will be seeking his fourth consecutive three-year term on Tribal Council. During the 2018 election, he finished second to Kennedy. He has served as Tribal Council secretary for the last five years. He was nominated by his son, Ty George.
Bobb, 72, served two terms on Tribal Council between 2007 and ’13 and was re-elected to a third term in 2018, garnering 606 votes. He will be seeking his fourth three-year term on Tribal Council. He was nominated by Kennedy.
Cherry, 50, is attempting to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Candy Robertson, and sister, Angie Blackwell, in serving on Tribal Council.
Cherry worked for 13 years at Spirit Mountain Casino, ending her employment there as the marketing manager. In that position, she oversaw VIP Services, the Coyote Club and the call center, among other duties.
Cherry took over at Spirit Mountain Community Fund in February 2017, also following in Blackwell’s footsteps. She was nominated by Robertson.
McDaniel, 60, was nominated by Tribal Elder Tracie Meyer. She has worked for the Tribe as the Eugene Office coordinator and as an economic development analyst, served on the Tribe’s Culture Committee and Cultural Trust Board, and has previously run for Tribal Council four times, most recently in 2011.
Tribal Council nominations occurred Sunday, June 27, in the Tribal Governance Center. Like last year, COVID-19 protocols were in place with only nominators, nominees and a limited number of Tribal staff members in attendance.
Tribal Council members are paid approximately $86,000 a year with Tribal Council officers earning slightly more, Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez said. Tribal Council members also have access to an annual $9,000 travel allowance.