Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Shawn Slaton, middle, presents a check to Cherokee Nation Executive Director of Health Connie Davis and Principal Chief Bill John Baker at the May 14 Tribal Council meeting for a special $1.5 million dividend payment made possible through the sale of CNB’s corporate plane. COURTESY PHOTO
CNB gives $1.5M check to Contract Health Services
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation’s Contract Health Services received a dividend check for $1.51 million during the May 14 Tribal Council meeting thanks to the sale of Cherokee Nation Businesses’ corporate plane.
Authorized by CNB’s board of directors, the check stemmed from the sale of CNB’s C-90B Raytheon King Air, which sold on March 30 for $1.58 million to Jackson Demolition of Albany, N.Y.
“We’re going to help a lot of our people with the money from that plane,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The Cherokee government is here to serve the Cherokee people and basic needs like the services provided by contract health are an obvious place to start.”
Officials said the tribe’s health services are administered in two ways. Federally funded programs are earmarked for specific programs and procedures. Money designated for those programs cannot be redirected. Self-funded CN Contract Health Services, however, is more flexible in the types of services and items covered, giving the tribe discretion in how to best meet its citizens’ needs.
“Contract Health (Services) is one of the most important ways we serve the Cherokee people,” Baker said. “That’s how we fill much needed gaps that are not covered by federal funding.”
Officials said CNB used a professional broker to bid out the plane. Through the sale, CNB will save by eliminating the plane and its hangar-associated expenses, including maintenance and fuel.
The plane became a topic of debate between former Principal Chief Chad Smith and Baker during the 2011 election. One of Baker’s campaign promises was to sell the plane if he were to become chief.
Cherokee Nation Entertainment purchased the eight-seat plane in 2007 for $1.87 million, which replaced an older model plane that the tribe owned. According to flight records, the plane was used primarily by previous administrations for tribal business.
This is the second funding increase for Contract Health Services since Baker has taken office. In November, Baker signed the Health Care Dividend Act, which authorized an additional 5 percent of casino profits be directed specifically to Contract Health Services.
“I’ve made health care a top priority of my administration,” Baker said. “Ensuring our people have access to good health care ensures a better quality of life for all. It’s my hope that these types of changes leave a lasting legacy on our people.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to certified recount results, Wanda Hatfield and Betsy Swimmer are still the top two vote-getters who will face each other in the July 25 runoff for the At-Large Tribal Council seat.
Following the June 27 general election, Election Commission officials posted results showing Hatfield leading with 25.94 percent of the ballots cast at 1,057 votes. Swimmer was second with 18.9 percent or 770 votes.
Following the July 2 recount, Hatfield continued to lead with 1,057 votes, but Swimmer lost seven votes to finish with 763.
The Cherokee Phoenix attempted to learn what happened to the seven votes, but as of press time EC officials were unavailable for comment.
Swimmer said she was confident the EC had valid numbers.
“So I’m pleased that it came out like it did,” she said. “I’m pressing forward and I plan to win the election.”
Hatfield said the top three finishers remained the same with the recount and congratulated Swimmer on being in the runoff.
“It has been a great experience and the next three weeks will be extremely busy reaching out to the At-Large Cherokee citizens,” she added.
Candidate Shane Jett, who requested the recount, received 717 votes in the general election, but saw his vote count lowered to 713 in the recount.
Jett said with the 2015 election being his first venture into Cherokee politics it was a learning experience, especially the importance of voters ensuring they cast their ballots correctly.
“They (EC) had to throw away over 350 absentee ballots because they either did not sign them, notarize them or fill them out properly. So those votes were never counted,” he said. “It’s important that people slow down and make sure their vote counts. I hope everyone gets out and votes for their candidate of choice because their (Cherokee) Nation is worth it.”
The EC performed the recount with CN Supreme Court justices present before certifying the results.
Runoff absentee ballots will be mailed on July 13-14 and the runoff election will take place on July 25.
All successful candidates are to be sworn into office on Aug. 14, according to the CN election timeline.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to the certified results from a July 2 recount, William “Bill” Pearson has beaten Keith Austin by six votes to win the Dist. 14 Tribal Council seat.
Original certified results from the June 27 general election showed Pearson receiving 534 votes for 50.5 percent of the ballots cast, while Austin garnered 533 votes for 49.95 percent.
Austin filed for a recount, which the tribe’s Election Commission performed. After that recount, Pearson had 525 votes for 50.2 percent compared to Austin’s 519 votes at 49.7 percent.
The votes tabulated during the recount consisted of precinct, absentee, early absentee and precinct challenged.
The recount had 23 votes less compared to the original count. EC officials said that occurred because of human error when inputting votes.
“The challenged ballots from the districts were processed on Sunday (June 28) beginning at ”1 p.m. through 12:11 a.m. on Monday and resulted in 349 out of approximately 700 challenged ballots being accepted,” an EC statement reads. “The 349 ballots were then fed through a voting machine that was pre-defined for absentees, to get the vote count for the various races and candidates. The card from the machine was then placed in the computer to print out the challenged vote results. And unbeknownst to the operator it recorded the ballots as absentee votes then the operator took the printout of challenged ballots and manually entered them for the appropriate race and candidate, resulting in the 349 votes being entered twice.”
The EC statement also reads that once this was discovered, those votes entered into the machine under absentee were removed. The challenged votes that were correctly placed in districts remained in those districts.
“Resulting in the 349 being correctly counted,” the release stated.
The Cherokee Phoenix contacted Pearson but he was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
In an email statement, Austin did not state whether he would appeal the recount results to the Supreme Court but that he appreciated the EC’s hard work.
“They have the impossible job of determining a certifiable winner in a race that could not be closer,” Austin wrote. “Obviously, we want to work with the Election Commission and the Supreme Court to help determine that the election results are accurate. Cherokees took the time to vote because they have faith in our Nation. We owe it to them to ensure their intentions are honored and their votes count.”
The EC certified the recount on July 2 in the presence of Supreme Court justices.
Candidates have until July 6 to appeal election results with the Supreme Court. Provided there are any appeals, the Supreme Court would hear those cases July 7-9.
Candidates elected to office during the general and runoff elections are expected to be sworn in Aug. 14, according to the tribe’s election timeline. The runoff election is set for July 25.
<a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/7/9410_ExplanationofRecalculationofVoteCount.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a>the Explanation of Recalculation of Vote Count document.
TAHLEQUAH, Oka. – Shawn Crittenden defeated Corey Bunch for the Cherokee Nation’s District 8 Tribal Council seat in the June 27 general election.
Crittenden won by a vote count of 486-307, according to certified results of the district’s three precincts. Those results showed Crittenden receiving 61.29 percent of the 793 ballots cast to Bunch’s 38.71 percent.
“I’m mainly humbled and thankful for the folks in my district,” Crittenden said. “I had a lot of support and I thank the good Lord for the good feeling I have right now. I’m ready to get down to business with the people in my district. My plans are to be accessible and to stay on top of issues when folks need something, when they want to be heard. I want to do everything I can to show them I care and I’m going to work hard for them.”
Bunch conceded the race in a Facebook post around midnight on June 28.
“I want to congratulate Shawn Crittenden on winning the district 8 council seat. He ran a good and clean campaign and deserves the victory,” Bunch wrote. “I called and told him that I’m behind him 100% and that I would ask everyone else to do the same. I also want to say ‘Thank you’ to everyone who showed such kindness to me and my family for the past several months.”
Dist. 8 covers the eastern part of Adair County, as well as much of its northern border.
Crittenden is expected to be sworn into office on Aug. 14, the tribe’s inauguration day. The EC certified the results at 10:30 a.m. on June 29.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to certified results, At-Large Tribal Council candidates Wanda Hatfield and Betsy Swimmer will face each other in the July 25 runoff.
Election Commission officials posted results showing Wanda Hatfield leading with 25.94 percent or 1,057 votes, while Betsy Swimmer was second with 18.9 or 770 votes.
“We’re very excited about it,” Hatfield said. “We’re already planning what we’re going to do next.”
Hatfield, from Oklahoma City, said the At-Large race was clean, respectful and all online comments were kind and professional.
“It was a race that I feel like there were 10 very qualified candidates, and I think we all worked very hard,” she said.
Swimmer, of Broken Arrow, said she felt privileged the Cherokee people have confidence in her.
“I will work very, very hard to make sure that they have proper representation,” she said. “We had some really wonderful candidates running, so with that in mind I certainly feel like it’s a great honor to have been selected.”
According to the certified results, the vote breakdown for the remaining At-Large candidates were:
• Shane Jett with 17.6 percent or 717 votes,
• Deborah Reed with 7.98 percent or 325 votes,
• Tommy Jones with 6.82 percent or 278 votes,
• Pamela Fox with 6.06 percent or 247 votes,
• Benjamin McKee with 6.06 percent or 247 votes,
• Linda Leaf-Bolin with 4.71 percent or 192 votes,
• Darell R. Matlock Jr. with 4 percent or 163 votes, and
• Trey Brown with 1.94 percent or 79 votes.
The EC met on June 29 to certify the general election results.
Runoff absentee ballots will be mailed on July 13-14 and the runoff election will take place on July 25.
All successful candidates are set to be sworn into office on Aug. 14, according to the Cherokee Nation’s election timeline.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to the certified election results of the June 27 general election, William “Bill” Pearson beat Keith Austin by one vote to win the Tribal Council’s Dist. 14 seat.
Results show that Pearson received 534 votes for 50.05 percent of the ballots, while Austin received 533 votes for 49.95 percent.
The Cherokee Phoenix contacted both candidates, but neither was available for comment at the time of publication.
The EC certified the results at on June 29.
Candidates have until 5 p.m. on July 1 to request a recount. Recounts are scheduled for July 2-3 with Supreme Court justices in attendance.
The election appeals deadline is July 6. Provided there are any appeals, the Supreme Court will hear those cases July 7-9.
Candidates who are elected to office during the general and runoff elections are expected to be sworn in Aug. 14, according to the tribe’s election timeline. The runoff election is set for July 25.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to certified election results, former Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen will return to the Tribal Council to fill the Dist. 13 seat.
Anglen, who previously served as Tribal Councilor from 2002-13, won the race with 63.67 percent of the votes at 517 votes. His opponent, Kenneth Holloway, had 36.33 percent or 295 votes.
Election Commission officials returned to the Election Services Office on June 28 to count challenged ballots and included them in the final unofficial results. The EC certified the results on June 29.
Anglen said, to be safe, he would wait until the challenged ballots were counted before commenting. He could not be reached at the time of publication.
Holloway, who conceded the race around 9 a.m. on June 28, congratulated Anglen and offered his support and prayers as Anglen moves into office. He also thanked his supporters.
“I want to thank God first and foremost, then my wife who is my biggest supporter and kept me going, my family and everyone who believed in me on this journey to become Dist. 13’s Tribal Councilor,” he said.
Dist. 13 covers most of the northeast Tulsa County and part of western Rogers County.
Inauguration day for elected officials is set for Aug. 14, according to the Cherokee Nation’s election timeline.