Shambaugh reaches goal of being Tribal Councilor
JAY, Okla. – After winning a July 22 runoff, Mike Shambaugh is the new Tribal Councilor for Dist. 9, which covers the southern half of Delaware County and part of eastern Mayes County.
The current chief of police in Jay, whose has been involved with law enforcement for 28 years, said he’s a goal-oriented person, and it’s been a lifelong goal to serve on the Tribal Council.
Shambaugh obtained that goal after by earning 54.96 percent of the vote in the runoff against Cherokee Nation citizen Clifton Hughes.
“The opportunity came up, and I thought it would be a great time to run and I won,” he said.
Shambaugh said he began his career in law enforcement as a patrolman and worked his way to a district attorney investigator.
As Jay’s chief of police and holding an administrator position, Shambaugh is accustomed to dealing with people’s problems in a professional way, he said.
“You have to learn to listen as an administrator. Everybody has a story to tell when they have a problem,” Shambaugh said. “The first thing that is out of my mouth is ‘What can I do to help you today?’ I want to know how to help them or where I can send them to get help.”
He said he’s most excited to be working and meeting people of Dist. 9 while representing the CN as a whole. He also said he plans to incorporate his experience with doing paperwork to help CN citizens get services while he serving for the next four years.
“A lot of people have trouble doing paperwork with the Cherokee Nation because it is pretty extensive in some areas. Well, I would be willing to sit down with them and even write it out for them if they were having trouble filling it out,” he said.
Shambaugh added that he believes it is important for people outside of the CN to know the Cherokee people are here to help. He stated that the Nation is always pushing forward to make things better for its people.
During his time as a tribal legislator, he said wants to work to improve elder care.
“I have already had four of five phone calls from people who need help, and my job hasn’t even started yet. Whether it is handicap ramps or something else,” he said. “Health care, elder care and education are three big things with me, and the Cherokee Nation has shown that these are important issues with them also.”
Shambaugh said he’s proud of his Cherokee heritage, and to honor it while on the Tribal Council he said he plans on incorporating his board position at the United Way in hopes of delivering school supplies to schools in the CN that need assistance.
“My mother was full blood, and my family as far back as I first remember spoke mainly Cherokee when I was young. Everything that I have seen with the Cherokee Nation has made me proud because the Nation has made great strides to help their citizens,” he said.
Shambaugh and the other eight Tribal Councilors who won seats in this year’s elections were inaugurated on Aug. 14.