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A voter's guide to Cherokee's 2019 tribal elections

As the June 6 Primary Election in Cherokee draws closer, The Smoky Mountain News will be updating this voter guide with responses from the 48 people running for legislative and executive office this year.

In 2019, all 12 Tribal Council seats are up for election, as well as chief and vice chief offices and three school board seats. The top two vote-getters for each office in June will proceed to the September General Election. Of the six townships, all except Snowbird/Cherokee County will have a contested primary for Tribal Council.

If you’re a candidate whose information is not posted here, contact reporter Holly Kays at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get added.

 

Principal Chief 

 

teresa

Teresa McCoy

Age: 59

Community: Big Cove

Office sought: Principal chief

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position? 

The experience I bring to the table is 20 years as an elected council representative from the Big Cove Community.  My time was spent on various committees that helped members and programs provide services to our tribe. In that time period I submitted over 115 pieces of legislation. That is more than any tribal member has ever presented. Many of those legislations still serve our members today and one in particular, the Privilege Tax Ordinance, has made millions of dollars over the years for our government to use where it is needed. Another was Ordinance 407, 1996. It was the legislation where our Tribal Council adopted the Indian Civil Rights Act. I am proud of that one. Actually all of them. I was elected 10 times by wonderful people in an awesome community and I worked diligently for the Eastern Band.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government? 

They have produced no policies on land purchases, administrative leave, executive orders, boards and committees, contracts from the chief’s office, a council-approved fiscal management policy, a strategic plan and very importantly, a tribal census. The current administration is an appointed administration and without being elected by our people they are not in touch with the needs of our Indian families and the real needs of our nation. I want to address those needs. I have solutions. Micromanagement isn't one of them. Let’s communicate. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion. 

My platform is simple. A healthy nation. Our bodies, our minds and spirits. Our environment and our overall health in general. That is attainable. But that requires real leadership and dedication from the top down and from the bottom up. It will take all of us to step up and remember each of us has an equal share of responsibility with ourselves, our families and communities. We are Cherokee. We have history. We reflect hope and practice our traditions and culture daily. We are tenacious and talented, artistic, athletic and beautiful. I will defend the sovereignty of the Eastern Band at home, before the state and in Washington with the pride and dignity our tribe deserves. I would support a stronger independent Human Resource Division, and additional funding and expansion for the Mother Town Project. That program has proven itself to be affective in the recovery of our tribal members struggling with addiction. Ecotourism is a great way to go because we already live in the greatest bio-diversified environment in the United States. We can share that with others if we do it responsibly. Our water, mountains and culture are second to none. I will partner with the tribes of the South and strengthen our lobbying power in D.C. I have many more wonderful ideas that will produce for our Cherokee tribe and our neighbors in WNC. Building bridges, opening doors and opportunities, rejuvenating dialogue with our communities is a great beginning.  The people know me. They trust me. They depend on my common sense and strength. I have lived a life of service and it isn't work when you do what you love. I love my tribe, and standing up when needed is and always has been a pleasure. I am more than qualified to lead as principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

Contact information: 828.736.1414 (cell) or 828.497.3230 (home).

 

 richie sneed

Richie Sneed

Age: 51

Community: 3200 Acre Tract

Office sought: Principal Chief

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

Having been in leadership most of my adult life, whether it be through my time in the Marine Corp, my many years as a business owner, my many years as a pastor and an educator, uniquely qualify me to understand organizational structure and leadership.  This understanding is coupled with a strong business acumen. The EBCI proposed and actual budgets demonstrate that we’re moving the tribe in a direction towards strong fiscal responsibility by controlling spending while maintaining a level of program services that our people have come to expect.  At the same time we have increased tribal revenue, other than gaming, through investment and the creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Kituwah LLC Board (Tribal LLC). The Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Kituwah LLC are vehicles for creating sustaining revenue outside of gaming.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

What has been lacking in tribal government previously is process and policy across divisions and programs.  During my time in office we’ve added substantial process and policy to help streamline the workflow and the delivery of services.  While we’ve accomplished a lot in a very short period of time, there is still a great deal more that needs to be done. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

My top priority is securing a fiscally sustainable tribal government.  This can only be accomplished through disciplined budgeting coupled with a vision and foresight for increasing tribal revenue, be it through investment, merger, acquisition, etc. 

Contact information: 828.736.3931.

 

carroll peanut crowe

Carroll “Peanut” Crowe

Age: 47

Community: Wolfetown/Big Y

Office sought: Principal Chief

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

Over the course of my 20-plus years as a tribal employee, along with the knowledge and insight of my father, Vice-Chief Pee Wee Crowe, and grandfather, Chief John A. Crowe, I have accumulated a unique and full breadth of understanding with regards to the intricacies of our tribal government. I will bring a precedent of irreplaceable experience and knowledge to the office of principal chief. 

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

We have undoubtedly progressed in various areas within the tribe but at the same time, we have regressed in transparency and true economic diversity. I will instill transparency back into the office of principal chief along with championing true economic diversity. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

I will establish an open-book policy within my office. Tribal members will never have to speculate about spending by my office. They will have direct access to my financial records. My goal is to build a consensus among our tribe and tribal leadership to move forward together. As chief, I will work closely with all tribal elected officials to put aside personal indifference, repair relationships and treat everyone as partners and not adversaries for the benefit of our tribe. I will create a new four-year economic and community development plan entitled “The Cherokee Way.” Under this new plan, we will explore new relationships outside of these Cherokee mountains and identify opportunities for investing in new partnerships and joint ventures. This effort is geared toward promoting small businesses, encouraging entrepreneurship, revitalizing downtown and improving services to tribal members. 

Contact information: 828.788.7097 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

cherokee ellington

Philip Ellington

Age: 45

Community: Snowbird

Office sought: Principal Chief 

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

Attended Southwestern Community College, worked for the state of N.C. 10 years (with training in engineering), worked in management with EBCI (housing) for eight years, have ministered, pastored and counseled for the last 23 years. 

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government? 

While there are some good things the tribe has achieved, I am afraid we are years behind in areas that matter. Personal interest, power, greed and a loss of touch with the people has blinded the eyes of the majority of our tribal leaders. I am afraid that generations to come will suffer if there is not change. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

We need financial stability. What we currently have is not enough. We are years behind in economic diversification. Though, on the surface, all of our programs in mental health/addiction sound good, they are merely applying Band-Aids. We need to get to the core of the problem. The cycle can be broken. Space will fail me to address all issues. Housing is broken, elders are lacking, we need traditional revitalization, etc. And we need to restore honesty and integrity!

Contact information: 828.735.2008 or @philipellington2019 on Facebook. 

 

Also on the ballot:

Gary R. Ledford. 

 

 

Vice Chief

 

cherokee anita

Anita Welch Lossiah

Age: 50

Office sought: Vice chief

What experience qualifies you for this position?

I serve and have served the citizens and government of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for the past 15 years.  I am the current tribal policy analyst and a former tribal council representative.  I worked in the tribe’s Attorney General Office and Office of Tribal Prosecutor.  I attained my law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and my undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi (aka, Ole Miss.)  Prior to law school I was an optician for 11 years.

I am a strong advocate for job training and higher education.  I am a former scholarship recipient and have served on the Richard (Yogi) Crowe Scholarship Fund Board.  I am currently on the UNCA National Parent Council and the WCU Cherokee Center Advisory Board.

I am a strong advocate for Cherokee cultural revitalization, enrichment and education.  I currently serve on the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum board.  We are currently pursuing the reacquisition of approximately 76 acres of historic Cherokee lands from Tennessee Valley Authority.   Once authorized, these lands will be transferred to the United States to be held in trust for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

I believe in community involvement.  I am an active Yellowhill Community Club member, have served as an officer for 11 years, and have served as a Community Club Council officer for 3 years.  I help organize the community’s annual Cherokee Skate Jam and have participated on the Sgadugi Constitution Committee for 2 years.

My husband, Bo, and I are small business owners.  We have 5 children:  Dylan, Carmen, Jonah, Kayla and Drew.  We love being with our family and friends. We enjoy hiking, gardening, dancing, and riding the jet ski at the lake.  We love helping our neighbors and helping our tribe be a better place for the next generation.

What is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

After great turmoil, I appreciate the current administration collectively getting back to work serving the EBCI citizens here and away.  Our agency experts, professionals (which include me) and front-line workers are tasked with providing services through over 100 programs, 30 boards and committees, and additional separate entities.  We need to continually be focused on addressing, assessing and providing for the needs of our communities with the security of a stable government.  I feel that the current administration has worked hard for unity and is ready for the next chapter.  We all must work together moving forward.

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

Our communities are safe, our children are healthy and ready for school, our Cherokee history and culture are taught throughout our ancestral lands, more workforce training opportunities, more small business development.

Contact information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 828-736-2698

 

Frank Pete Taylor

Age: 64

Community: Painttown

Office sought: Vice chief

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position? 

I want to work for the people of EBCI. I am like my dad the unseen helping hand. I worked at the council house finance office for about four or five years. I was a swing manager a McDonald's, worked at the Head Start program for 20 years from bus driver, janitor, assistant teacher, lead teacher supervisor, procurement, did the retirement accounts, billing for wraparound program and whatever staff needed done, from Santa to Easter Bunny lol.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government? 

I feel that council, chief, don’t listen to the people and that all entities should be voted in like the counties do.

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion. 

Mine is that the Grand Council will voted on by the people and not the council. If council won't let this system work I feel like they are a dictatorship, but not all of them!

 

james bud smith

James Bud Smith

Age: 65

Community: Wolfetown

Office sought: Vice chief

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

EDD educational leadership management experience in education and tribal government.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

Our current state of affairs governmentally speaking in my opinion is not addressing the future of our tribe. We are mired in a political process that needs to adapt to a changing world and position ourselves in a sustainable future.

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

Through diversification of revenue streams and education to meet the needs of our tribe as a whole. Time to stop talking about it and do it! I believe we need to develop a proactive employee program for education and growth. We must train our future leaders and put them in a position to be successful. As we diversify we must have capable people to put in management positions. We cannot depend on outside management to act in our best interest. We must be prepared to meet the challenges facing us and create a viable future for our children.

Contact information: 828.788.2683 or P.O. Box 2291, Cherokee, N.C. 28719

Also on the ballot:

Alan “B” Ensley, Ben Parker, Jim Owle, Albert Martin, Terri Henry.

 

 

Big Y/Wolfetown Tribal Council 

 

cherokee sam

Sam “Frell” Reed

Age:

Office sought: Big Y/Wolfetown Tribal Council 

What experience qualifies you for this position?

USMC veteran, small business owner, law enforcement officer 1991-2011, currently a Tribal Court Magistrate.

What is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

Current direction of the tribe is spend money on projects that may not benefit the Tribe long term.

What would be your top priority if elected?

Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion. Jobs, technical or trade schools for our young people or even adults who are working, but want to go into a different job.

I want this tribe to look at the issue of drug users who are having babies, and the increased amount of children having special needs care. Propose legislation for the welfare of these children who are being raised by others because the parents are involved in drug use.

Contact information: 828.736.3307 or 828.497.5349.

 

cherokee jeremy

Jeremy Wilson

Age: 30

Office sought: Big Y/Wolfetown Tribal Council

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

2014 WCU Graduate in Sociology. Minor in Cherokee studies. 2014 Graduate of the UNC Native American Leadership Institute. 2016 Graduate of the Coulter Regional Leadership. Experience in Public Health, Management, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership. 

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

Tribal government has experienced a long pattern of inconsistency in how it operates systematically, and approaches issues. A constant formation of operational changes, and lack of consistent approaches leads to a decline in success. We are at minimum 10-years behind in diversification. While although we do have major success in gaming, and also obtaining grants through our programs, and partnerships within the region, we need more diversity in economics, and addressing issues such as the opioid crisis. We need updated plan to action models that address our issues in modern day approaches. The tribe has had a gradual climb in success in some areas, but in areas like housing, economics, and health, we need stronger diversity. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

I am currently pushing the Cannabis initiative to position the tribe into the hemp industry. Addressing issues like economical diversification, chronic illness relief, treatment options, and new agriculture. Mental health will also be my priority focus. We discuss the surface issues too much, and we need to focus more on the core of what causes those problems. I also intend to make culture revitalization a priority by working closer with our cultural programs to invest updated technology and cultural models for our upcoming generations to bring a new approach to learning culture and language in modern day. High-speed internet is a must for our communities, and I intend to work to provide that for our people as well. Personally I want to bring more transparency for our people. Constantly keeping them updated on what’s going on, and bringing more trust between government and community. 

Contact information: 828.788.3388 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

cherokee paula

Paula (Cricket) Brown Wojtkowski

Age: 56

Office sought: Wolfetown/Big Y Tribal Council

What experience, professional or otherwise, prepares you for this position?

Eighteen years of management and senior leader experience at our casinos, including Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise Board of Advisors, regional vice president of talent acquisition and development, director of customer service and TCGE tribal rep; two terms in tribal government as a political appointee, bachelor of science degree in communication from Western Carolina University, master's degree in business adminstration from the University of Tennessee Knoxville

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government? 

The EBCI is a multi-billion dollar tribe/business. We need a better balance of folks who understand finance and business. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

Ethics/Legal/Financial Accountability

a. Propose legislation that requires independent third-party analysis of all proposed projects, sponsorships, multi-million-dollar proposals

i. Include in legislation mandatory background checks for all companies and individuals wishing to conduct business with the EBCI

b. Propose amendments to the Ethics Ordinance to strengthen

i. The ethics policy is “self-reporting” for elected and appointed officials and that’s problematic

ii. Investigation results go directly to the folks named in the complaint(s)

iii. There’s a lack of autonomy/confidentiality for complaints, no “Whistle Blower” protections for individuals who come forward.

Contact information: 828.736.1640 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

 

 chelsea saunooke

Chelsea Saunooke 

Age: 36

Community: Wolfetown

Office sought: Wolfetown/Big Y Tribal Council

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

I earned my B.A. in business management from Lenoir-Rhyne College in 2004. Throughout my career I have obtained 12+ years of experience in leadership, finance, human resources, housing, entrepreneurship and training. Part of my finance experience comes from working at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in income control and planning & analysis. I have also worked in the EBCI Division of Treasury as the budget analyst. In 2013 I was elected to serve on the Cherokee Central Schools Board of Education as the Wolfetown School Board Representative, allowing me to serve from 2013 to 2017. In my free time I enjoy volunteering to coach basketball and softball. I recently developed a beginner and intermediate basketball clinic for girls ages 6 to 10.  We hold sessions for this clinic weekly. I also assist coaching two girls’ 8U and 10U softball teams.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government? 

There needs to be a focus on revamping our community. Our Qualla Boundary was once family-oriented and had community engagement. There were local waterslides on mountainsides, a water park known as Magic Waters, a Fun Park, a ropes course and other family-oriented businesses. I’m not saying that I support the new Adventure Park plans on the table, but I will advocate for diverse and authentic business opportunities that our community members feel engaged in. I understand that the casino has brought our tribe into a prosperous state, but it’s time to bring back the reputation that Cherokee once had as a family-oriented place to live and visit. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

My plan is to propose legislation to provide more job opportunities for physically disabled and intellectually challenged enrolled members. Along with that legislation I will propose that our Human Resources Department develop a leadership training for supervisors who are unaware or need the skill sets necessary to supervise our enrolled members with physical disabilities and intellectual challenges. We have a population that deserves more job opportunities that are suited to bring out their full potential and will allow them to live a healthy sustainable life. I will also propose legislation for a group home or neighborhood to be built for our physically disabled and intellectually challenged enrolled members that will provide a safe place to live with different levels of living assistance.

There is a great need to advocate for all children in our foster care system. We must get to the root cause of why our children are suffering at the hands of loved ones and address it. I also want to advocate for those suffering with mental illnesses. There are programs and resources available but there’s a need to measure the impact of those services and to understand why enrolled members aren’t taking advantage of services. 

I hope to be a champion to our enrolled member populations who get left behind or feel that they have no sense of place.

Contact information: 828.507.7848 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

tony

Tony Cabe

Age: 56

Office Sought: Wolfetown/Big Y Council Representative

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

I am an honorably discharged Navy veteran and have been employed by the federal government in the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, recently retired with 27 years of service. While in the Navy and while employed by the government, I gained experience in managing multi-million dollar budgets and in managing and directing large organizations with diverse groups of people with various personalities. I also have experience at the Tribal Employment Rights Office as a founding member of the TERO commission. This gave me experience in writing policy and procedures and enforcing policy and procedures, along with issuing fines and sanctions. This proves my desire to protect the employment rights of tribal members in both public and private work settings. In the past I have been vice-chairman of the Wolfetown Community Club and chaired or participated in seven other community and cultural committees and commissions. I have 10 years experience as a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Certified Mediator and 18 years experience as an EEOC counselor. My wife of 16 years, Marisa “Sis” Cabe and I are business owners on the Qualla Boundary, so we understand the importance of protecting the livelihood of Native small business owners. I am the proud father of Randall and Ethan Crowe, and grandfather of Waylon Crowe.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

I feel that because of past and recent political events that there is a distrust and disrespect of certain aspects and people of the current tribal government. While there have been some steps made to heal our tribe, there is still improvement to be made. I feel that the people are oftentimes excluded when it comes to making important decisions that affect the wellbeing of all enrolled members. If elected I would make myself available in person by establishing office hours in the Big Y and Wolfetown Community Clubs, continuing to attend community club meetings and being available by phone. While we are currently lucrative with the gaming enterprises, we lack diversification of income opportunities. We live in one of the world’s most beautiful places and I would like to see Cherokee become the family destination that it once was. True economic diversification may be obtained by investing in opportunities on and off the Qualla Boundary. I would like to see cooperative ventures with other federally recognized tribes so that we help to build up other Native peoples as well as our on Native people. In helping others we are epitomizing du yu k(o) dv (i) or the true way, which is how our government should function.

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

Decreasing our tribal debt to a more fiscally manageable amount would take priority. To do this I would present legislation to look at decreasing tribal spending at the top levels. I would like a review of all tribal committees, boards and commissions to determine the necessity of each committee, board or commission. If deemed necessary for tribal functions, then I would like to review the services, level of authority and pay for each. I would also review the chief, vice-chief and council members’ pay to determine if current salaries are justified and present legislation to review politically appointed positions for necessity and if necessary, determine if the salary is justified. I would recommend that former government officials be required to apply, interview for and meet the job requirements for any tribal position for which they qualify.

Contact information: 828.554.5898 (home), 828.736.3754 (mobile) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Also on the ballot:

Bo Crowe, Bill Taylor, Jess “Fonzie” Sneed, Nathanial “Bunsey” Crowe, James David Jumper. 

 

Birdtown Tribal Council

 

curtis wildcatt

Curtis Wildcatt

Age: 48

Office sought: Birdtown Tribal Council

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

I spent over 12 years working in the Tribal Employment Rights Office. I have experience in contracting, employment rights, technical work related education and training. I had the pleasure to work with the vast demographic of the tribal population and their challenges, including our members in recovery who had been forgotten when it comes to opportunities in employment. Because of this I created the Mothertown Healing Project, which provides opportunity for those in recovery to build their employment skills. I’ve spent many hours working to establish employment rights, protections and business opportunities for enrolled members with past administrations. The experience has given me a true perspective of the community, an understanding of the challenges we currently face and what must be done to secure a positive future for our people. Leadership without bias. 

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

I’m sure some feel that we are in great shape. However, I believe the majority know that we are not. We have had modern gaming for over 20 years. It has been economically lucrative of course, but we have failed to utilize and plan adequately, just as the recent state gaming issues have revealed. If we were in great shape we would have a plan and strategy set long ago for this inevitable event. Now we scramble for solutions to maintain our position, and act as if it was a surprise that others would be exploring gaming opportunities. I believe we can change our future now, it’s not too late. We can create a future that gives us security and prosperity for the next seven generations. However, personal agendas, internal fighting, abuse of power and neglect of real tribal issues are the enemies that will continue to prevent our success. The Cherokee people have always found a way to survive, and our generation is obligated to continue that tradition. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

It is impossible for me to limit to one goal so here are a few … I will work to remove political interference for fair employment practices, and to establish real worker protections for all employees. Most politicians do not have adequate training when it comes to employment issues for fair decisions. I will fight against inflated pricing, mismanagement, exploitation and internal corruption when spending tribal monies for contracting and high value purchasing. This can be accomplished by creating an Office of Accountability, as a branch under the current Office of Internal Audit. (I believe this is the missing piece for achieving transparency and prevention of corruption). Housing — removing political oversight will be a great start. For decades the housing programs have been used as a political cookie jar and this has hampered production and fair opportunities for desperate families. I’m sure a fair and progressive system can be implemented. I will submit a resolution to remove all restrictions from all media. Media provides necessary accountability in a democracy. Without it what type of government do you have? I will continue to be an advocate of those in recovery and battling addiction. I will seek direction and advisement from our tribal members living in recovery. Together, we will find better solutions.

Contact information: 828.506.4261 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

 

cherokee sessions

Ashley Sessions

Age: 30

Office sought: Birdtown Tribal Council 

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

There are no specific “qualifications” for a council members. However, I feel that it is important for candidates to have involvement in community service, youth/elder programs, special needs programs, etc. I stay involved with my community, I am a hard worker, honest, fair and transparent. 

I have work experience in the business field, tribal courts, as well as the hospital, which is where I currently work as the Education Training Specialist. 

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

The current direction of our Tribal Government is a little scary to be honest. There is a lot of wasteful spending, incomplete investigations and unfinished projects. I am seeking office to help push our tribe in the right direction. 

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

Housing is on the top of my list if elected. Currently we do not have an effective housing program for our enrolled members. From surveying to laying down the foundations, it’s a mess. 

Employment, term limits and the minors fund are also on my list. But, these are just some of the things I would like to work on. I am very interested in hearing from community members and what they want to see improved. I want to work for them, all of them. 

Contact information: 828.736.8861 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

nelsonlambert

Nelson Lambert

Age: 31
Office sought: Birdtown Tribal Council

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

For me it started in high school when I served on Junaluska Leadership Council as chairman. I then went to UT-Knoxville. Then worked at the casino as a Cherokee Leader and nominated for the Chairman’s Internal Service Award. Then to law school where I served on National Native American Law Student’s Association Board of Directors. I interned at the Cherokee Tribal Court, Tribal Attorney General’s Office, and interned with a federal judge for the Western District of North Carolina. I graduated law school with honors for pro bono (free) legal assistance. I obtained an LL.M. (post Juris Doctor degree) in Gaming Law and Regulation from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas — William S. Boyd School of Law. I am the first Native American to obtain this degree. Interned with the Nevada Gaming Control Board under Board Member Terry Johnson. Was selected by my fellow LL.M. peers to speak on behalf of our graduating class. Then worked as the Tribal Services Manager for BMM Testlabs where I traveled to many gaming tribes, met with their tribal gaming commissioners and attended many gaming law conferences.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

Our government is lacking in clear policies, procedures, transparency and respect. Some current leaders are blind to individual family issues and so far disconnected from the Birdtown community. I constantly hear the phrase “economic diversification.” I believe that we do need to explore other opportunities besides gaming that will generate revenue for our people. I have a vision for how we can do that right here, right now. However, “economic diversification” does not mean we stop taking care of our elders, disabled, youth, starving families and the homeless. It does not mean that we ignore the law and throw out policies and procedures (or lack thereof) because of who you are or how many votes your family is worth.

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

My top priority is to always bring forward legislation that is important to the Birdtown community. Right now the policies and procedures surrounding housing and land is at the top of my list. Also, the future that I want for my son here is the same future I want for all of our families. Legislation that will create the future that I have envisioned is what I will push hard for in order to make it a reality. There’s no reason why we can’t have the cultural, developmental and other things that families enjoy in other places, right here in Cherokee. So long as we prioritize our budget and begin to re-invest in our community with our families always at the heart of that investment. I will always support legislation that makes us proud people. Whether it’s proactively attacking addiction in every form, better healthcare, more assistance for our elders, language and culture or even legislation that makes our government more transparent.

Through listening to you, just know that this is not a complete list of what I will work diligently on throughout my career as your Councilman. I’ve learned what your wishes are. I will lead us towards the future that we all desire and make it a reality.

Contact information: 828.507.8419, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Facebook: Nelson Lambert

Also on the ballot:

Albert Rose, Boyd Owle, Alyne Stamper.

 

Painttown Tribal Council

 

lisa taylor

Lisa Taylor

Age: 55

Office sought: Painttown Tribal Council 

What experience, professional or otherwise, qualifies you for this position?

My parents instilled in me dedication. Dedication to church, family and work. I grew up during a time when the tribe struggled to exist. The EBCI was poor just like every family in our tribe. We all learned to make do with what we had. We grew up learning how to work and be dedicated.

I worked 21 years in public safety as a dedicated tribal employee. I have served my first term on Tribal Council. I am vested in our tribe through my life, career and family.

Overall, what is your opinion on the current direction of tribal government?

I am pleased with the current direction of tribal government. Is it perfect? No. I am proud of the forethought and investment in all education by the current and past administrations. Education is the key to the direction and success of the EBCI, for the government, the workforce and the tribal members in general.

What would be your top priority if elected? Please include a specific item of policy/legislation you hope to champion.

Continue to improve unification in our government. As the tribe continues to grow so does its services and entities. I would like to formulate a more extensive plan to include five, 10 and 15-year business plans for the tribe, CIHA and other entities of the tribe to include the casino to insure we are moving toward a common goal.

 

Also on the ballot: 

Tommye Saunooke, Dike Sneed, Cherie Bird Rose, Pamela Sneed

 

Snowbird/Cherokee County Tribal Council

On the ballot: Adam Wachacha, Janell Rattler, Bucky Brown, Sherry Smoker

 

Yellowhill Tribal Council

On the ballot: Tom Wahnetah, David. T. Wolfe, Rose Shell-Maney, Tawania Ensley, Stephanie Saunooke French

 

Big Cove Tribal Council

On the ballot: Fred Penick, Richard French, Renee Long Cole, Perry Shell, Walter French. 

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