Tribal Council candidates speak: Eight incumbents face 16 challengers Sept. 7

With the election for Cherokee Tribal Council just one week away, The Smoky Mountain News continues its series profiling the 24 candidates running for election to one of 12 Tribal Council seats.

Voters will choose two representatives from each of six townships. The slate of candidates includes eight incumbents — Adam Wachacha and Albert Rose, profiled below, are among them — four people who have previously served on Tribal Council but are not currently seated, and 12 candidates hoping to win election for the first time. Profiles on additional candidates are available through story links at

Election Day is Thursday, Sept. 7, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Adam Wachacha, 40

Snowbird/Cherokee County Tribal Council

Reason to run: “I am running for re-election because I believe our tribe needs experienced leaders. I have dedicated my life to public service and I feel I need to set that example for my children.”

Background: Wachacha has served four terms on Tribal Council and is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served for 13 years. Improving recreational and educational services for tribal members has been his focus while in office. He is the son of former Snowbird councilmember Abraham Wachacha. Wachacha and his wife have five children.

Top priorities if re-elected: Construct an assisted living facility and newer recreational complex for the Snowbird and Cherokee County communities. Work to sustain Cherokee language and culture.

Opinion on 2015-2017 Tribal Council: “My experience as a Tribal Council member has been rewarding, but I have learned the most about tribal government through the toughest decisions. I have tried to balance my decisions between protecting our tribal assets and working on behalf of tribal members.”


Albert Rose, 45

Birdtown Tribal Council

Reason to run: “I believe our tribal leaders should be committed to preserving our cultural heritage and history and that we should work to expand our land base. I have supported our housing, technology and health care programs. I will continue to work to provide more educational and job opportunities.”

Background: Rose has served two terms on Tribal Council, focusing on improving services to tribal members, representing the tribe in Washington, D.C., and improving economic opportunities on the Qualla Boundary. Before joining Tribal Council, he worked 20 years for UPS.

Top priorities if re-elected: Fight the war against the opioid and Hepatitis C epidemic. Improve educational and job opportunities for tribal members.

Opinion on 2015-2017 Tribal Council: “As an elected official I can only speak to the job that I have done while sitting on Tribal Council. I have always promised to put our tribe first and I believe that I kept that promise.”


On the ballot

In each community, voters will elect two of four General Election candidates to serve a two-year term on Tribal Council. The following list of candidates is ordered based on the number of votes received in June’s Primary Election.

Big Cove

• Richard French* 

• Perry Shell**

• Lori Taylor

• Fred Penick


• Albert Rose*

• Travis Smith*

• Boyd Owle

• Ashley Sessions


• Tommye Saunooke*

• Terri Henry**

• Lisa Taylor

• Yona Wade

Snowbird/Cherokee County

• Janell Rattler

• Bucky Brown

• Adam Wachacha*

• Larry Blythe***

Wolfetown/Big Y

• Bo Crowe* 

• Jeremy Wilson

• Sam “Frell” Reed

• Bill Taylor*


• David Wolfe**

• Tom Wahnetah

• Charles Penick

• Anita Welch Lossiah*

*denotes incumbent

**denotes former Tribal Council member

***denotes former vice chief

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