6 incumbents to remain on Tribal Council
BY STAFF REPORTS TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to unofficial results from the Cherokee Nation’s June 22 election, six current Tribal Councilors will remain on the legislative body when the new 15-district representative map replaces the five-district map on Aug. 14. In two other district races, one incumbent faces a runoff while another incumbent lost. Incumbent Joe Byrd of Tahlequah will serve as councilor for the new Dist. 2. Unofficial results showed Byrd receiving 67.97 percent of the votes, or 416 ballots, while Tamsye Dreadfulwater of Tahlequah received 32.03 percent or 196 votes. “Now it’s time to go to work,” Byrd said. “And all the people that helped, the volunteers, the people that let me put signs in their yard, it was really a team effort and there were a lot of people involved with my reelection and I just want to thank all of the people that supported me.” Byrd previously served on the Tribal Council from 1987-95 and since 2012. He also served as principal chief from 1995-99. “One of my main initiatives in this go-around is going to be making sure that any of the elderly that want a storm shelter, I want to make sure they have one available to them because of the uncertainty of what our weather patterns have been,” he said. “Everybody talks about health care and scholarships, and that’s OK and I still support that, but I’m really going to concentrate on our elders this go-around.” In the Dist. 4 race, incumbent Don Garvin of Muskogee will face challenger Mike Dobbins of Fort Gibson in a runoff election on July 27 because Garvin did not receive more than 50 percent of the vote. Garvin received 304 votes, or 43.8 percent, while Dobbins received 240 votes or 34.58 percent. Candidate Justin Carlton of Muskogee received 150 votes or 21.61 percent. Attempts to reach Garvin for a comment were unsuccessful. Dobbins said he was “happy” to be in the runoff and he has a lot of work in front of him. He added that the biggest concern for Dist. 4 constituents is health care. “With sequester cuts, I’m trying to reassure the Cherokee people that we will everything we can to keep health services intact,” he said. Incumbent David Thornton of Vian will serve as Tribal Councilor for the new Dist. 5 when he’s inaugurated. Results showed that Thornton received 56.75 percent of the votes, or 311 votes, while his opponents Dink Scott of Vian received 35.22 percent or 193 votes. Candidate Sherri Doolin of Braggs received 44 votes for 8.03 percent. Thornton was first elected to the council in 2003. The Phoenix attempted to reach him but was unsuccessful. In the Dist. 7 race, incumbent Frankie Hargis of Stilwell received 547 votes, or 55.09 percent, to defeat Joe Adair of Stilwell who received 446 votes or 44.91 percent. Hargis first won a seat on the council in December 2011 during a special election to fill a seat vacated by now Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. She also defeated Adair in that race. Hargis credited her friends and family for working “tirelessly” with her to win the race. She said she appreciated those who voted for her and gave her their support. Hargis said she’s heard from Cherokee people that they need help with application processes to receive tribal services such as housing, health care and education. “We’ve made progress with all of that, and I’m so happy that I get to continue to help moving us forward to even better opportunities for our people,” she said. In Dist. 9, unofficial results show that incumbent Curtis G. Snell of Rose won by 57.49 percent, or 407 votes, to defeat Lonus Mitchell of Rose who got 301 votes for 42.51 percent. Attempts to reach Snell were unsuccessful. In Dist. 10, Harley Buzzard of Eucha received 66.82 percent of the vote for getting 290 ballots, while his opponent Nettie Detherage of Fairland received 33.18 percent or 144 votes. Buzzard was not available for comment when election results were posted. Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr., drew no opponent for the new Dist. 11, so he will be inaugurated on Aug. 14 as that district’s council representative. Three candidates campaigned for the Dist. 15 seat and unofficial results show that Janees Taylor of Pryor won with 50.7 percent or 289 votes. Incumbent Meredith Frailey of Locust Grove had 45.96 percent of the vote or 262 votes, and candidate Marilyn Cooper of Locust Grove got 19 votes for 3.33 percent. Attempts to reach Taylor were unsuccessful. The council’s At-Large Seat No. 2 had six candidates vying for it. Unofficial results show incumbent Jack Baker of Nichols Hills winning with 739 votes for 51.64 percent. Candidates Curtis Bruehl of Norman received 30.4 percent from 435 votes. Ken Luttrell of Ponca City got 5.87 percent from 84 votes, while Robin Mayes of Denton, Texas, received 5.24 percent from 75 votes. Curtis West of Klamath Falls, Ore., received 3.63 percent of the vote, 52 votes overall, while Carol Richmond of Tulsa received 46 votes for 3.21 percent. Although the results were unofficial, Baker said he feels he “fought a clean fight and did not run down any other candidate.” “Even with all the money that was spent trying to take me out, I think the Cherokee people were able to see through that and still re-elect me,” he said.Click on Photo for more imagesCherokee Nation citizen Sharon Kyles of Locust Grove, Okla., completes a change-of-address form on June 22 after casting a challenged ballot in the Dist. 15 Tribal Council race. Precinct workers in the Locust Grove Town Hall said she was supposed to vote in the Dist. 9 race despite Kyles receiving a letter from the tribe’s Election Commission stating she was in Dist. 15. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Election Commission is expected to certify the results within three days. – Senior Reporter Will Chavez and Reporters Jami Custer, Tesina Jackson and Stacie Guthrie contributed to this report.