Smith ready to get feet on ground as Tribal Councilor
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – E.O. Smith, of Vian, on Aug. 14 will begin serving his first term as the Dist. 5 Tribal Councilor after winning a July 22 runoff election. He will take the seat being vacated by Tribal Councilor David Thornton.
Smith won the runoff against Cherokee Nation citizen Uriah Grass by receiving 52.26 of the vote.
He previously spent eight years as a CN Food Distribution warehouse manager in Sallisaw.
His platform includes improving education, employment and health care for Cherokees.
“I want to help. There’s some of these families, they don’t need to live in the condition they live in. (Cherokee) Nation is strong but I’d like to help make it stronger. I just care about people…I just want to make things better for District 5,” he said.
Born in Mexico, Smith moved to Vian with his mother and father at age 2.
“My dad was a farmer, and back then there wasn’t any farm aid or anything, and a flood wiped them out and they lost everything they had. So he had to move out to Mexico and worked in the oil fields, saved up money to come back home,” he said.
After seeing his father’s work ethic and ability to move back to the United States to become a business owner, Smith followed in father’s footsteps by becoming a business owner, operating two stores in Vian for 29 years.
Smith was also involved with youth and youth sports, coaching sports teams for more than 42 years.
“That’s my passion. That’s what I love to do. I like working with kids,” Smith said.
As a councilman for the city of Vian, Smith said he see too many young people, Cherokees and non-Cherokees, with no desire to work and wants to motivate them to find jobs.
Smith said in his travels in the CN, about 85 percent of people he talked to brought up improving health care, especially for elders.
“Overall, I just want to help improve things. I’m for all the programs we got going. I don’t want to cut any. I’d like to see some improve,” he said.
He said he had a tough election but is ready to get his feet on the ground and see what lies ahead of him as a Tribal Councilor to improve programs and other issues in the CN and Dist.5
“We all want good things for the (Cherokee) Nation, or we wouldn’t be running. I’m just so excited for this chance. I can’t wait to get started. I really want to try to help. I’m 66. I feel good and this may be my last chance to do something good,” Smith said.
Smith said he is creating an office in Vian where he will be available from 9 a.m. to noon five days a week and will also be accessible by phone at 918-705-1845.
“Let’s pull together and help me make this a good four years. Let’s don’t fight. Let’s pull together,” Smith said.