Baker serves as Democratic National Convention delegate
9/26/2012 8:31:15 AM
 
Principal Chief Bill John Baker presents a Pendleton blanket to California Rep. Mike Honda as Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn looks on during the Democratic National Convention, which was held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C. COURTESY PHOTO
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Principal Chief Bill John Baker presents a Pendleton blanket to California Rep. Mike Honda as Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn looks on during the Democratic National Convention, which was held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C. COURTESY PHOTO
BY KEVIN SCRAPPER Reporter TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Not all Democrats get to attend the Democratic Nation Convention to nominate the party’s presidential candidate. Even fewer get to announce his or her state’s delegates vote during the convention’s roll call. However, Principal Chief Bill John Baker got to do both during this year’s DNC held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C. Baker said he represented the Cherokee Nation in his official capacity and that during the vote to re-nominate President Barack Obama for president, he announced Oklahoma’s vote. “I was honored to attend the convention as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and on behalf of the Cherokee Nation’s federal interests,” Baker said. “To stand on a national stage as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and cast my delegate vote for President Obama on behalf of the state of Oklahoma helped shine the national spotlight on the Cherokee Nation.” However, Baker did not represent the tribe alone. CN Treasurer Lacy Horn, Secretary of State Charles Head, Attorney General Todd Hembree and Communications Director Amanda Clinton joined Baker on the trip, all in their official capacities. “In Charlotte, my top leadership and I attended meetings with several business leaders, U.S. senators, members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as well as promising candidates for national office who support tribal nations,” Baker said. “We were fortunate to meet with Google, Vice President Joe Biden, Congressman Mike Honda and many others.” As reported by the Cherokee Phoenix, Google awarded the Cherokee Nation Foundation a $50,000 grant that will allow the foundation to launch campaigns on Google. Baker said the grant and other opportunities obtained were made possible by the meetings he and his team attended. “Our meetings with Congressman Honda and other members of Congress were equally productive,” he said. “Tribal nations face potential budget cuts from the federal government every year, and as a member of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Congressman Honda is a key ally for the Cherokee Nation.” Baker said Obama is the first president to have a true open door policy with tribes and that openness to listen is proof of his respect for the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the United States. “As I said during the convention, President Obama has been the best president Indian Country has ever had,” Baker said. “There have been several presidents try to develop a relationship with sovereign nations, but not to the extent of the current administration.” Baker said he proudly supports Obama as he has populated his staff with talented Natives in key administrative positions that affect tribal communities. “He supports expanded education opportunities, improved health care access and supported infrastructure improvements to create economic opportunities in Indian County,” he said. “With the Obama administration, several key accomplishments have been met, including the Cobell settlement, the Indian Health care Improvement Act, the Violence Against Woman Act and the Keepseagle settlement. His collaboration with tribes is unprecedented and shows that he truly values the Indian perspective and respects our sovereignty.” Baker added that attending the DNC meant a lot to him and the CN. “Overall, my service as a delegate was extremely productive for the Cherokee Nation, and it was an experience I will cherish forever,” he said. CN funds covered Baker, Horn, Head and Hembree’s travel costs, while Cherokee Nation Businesses covered Clinton’s expenses. According to CN Communications, the Nation paid $8,310.46, while CNB paid $1214.64. Expenses consisted of flight, hotel, meals and ground transportation.

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