Meredith A. Frailey

BY Phoenix Archives
05/17/2007 02:28 PM
Phone, daytime: (918) 479-2321 Phone, evening: (918) 479-2243 E-mail: Home community and family information: My home community is Locust Grove, Mayes County, Oklahoma. My mother, a traditional fullblood Cherokee, is the late Susie Swimmer. My brother is Sidney Swimmer and sister, Leah Kay turner. I have one son, Brandon Frailey and twin grandchildren, Sidney and Jaysie Frailey. Education: Graduate of Locust Grove High School, bachelor of Science from Northeaster State University and Juris Doctorate from Tulsa University School of Law. 1. Why do you want to serve on the Tribal Council?Public service is important in shaping one’s contribution in life. My mother told me when I left home to attend college to never forget where I came from and never turn my back on others. There are many opportunities and challenges facing the Cherokee Nation and our people. Due to my scope of experiences, I believe I can help make a difference in the lives of others and help continue the progress of the Cherokee Nation. I’ve worked in many different industries and desire to share my experience by serving on the tribal council as a voice for the Cherokee people in making decisions that affect their quality of life, their future and the future of their children and grandchildren. 2. What is the greatest priority in your district and how will you address it as a legislator?In all districts of the Cherokee Nation, one of our greatest priorities should be protecting and preserving our sovereignty. Anti-Indian groups and others are daily attacking our sovereignty. As a result, it is vital that we elect officials who will strive to protect our sovereignty. We must assure and maintain a strong fiscal budget. The federal budget likely will be reduced due to the situation in Iraq. Therefore, it is important that the tribal council ensure that the Cherokee Nation has adequate resources to meet commitments and invest in our future through business and economic development. Job and career training are vital as the growing number of employers in Mayes counts are demanding a trained workforce. By forming relationship with the state and industry in providing quality training for Mayes county and area residents, we expand our capabilities. It is important that we continue working with the Mid-America Industrial park to recruit businesses. By cooperating with industry, we can create many jobs and opportunities for Cherokees and Mayes County residents and ensure the economic stability of the county. Additional priorities include health care and education. We are working to provide dental services at the Salina Clinic. We need to reduce administrative costs of the contract health program. At all clinics, we should ensue we spend on what is medically necessary and what is proven to work. Prevention of substance abuse is crucial in Mayes County. We can form alliances with the State and private industry to help overcome the meth crisis by implementing treatment centers and counseling. The education of our youth is critical to the future of the Cherokee Nation. It is one thing to say we will provide health care and education, but it is another thing to ensure that health care and educational scholarships are properly and fairly administered. 3. Cherokee Nation-owned businesses return 25 percent of profits to the Cherokee Nation as a dividend. Is that amount appropriate or should it be changed and why?The Cherokee Nation businesses return 30% of profits to the tribal government as a dividend. We should maintain this percentage until we can ensure the economic stability of our business development to support our self-sufficiency objective. We should not be dependent on gaming and taxation. It is likely that competition or severe restrictions will come in areas of gaming and taxation. Gaming is not a stable economic industry and, as we know it today, may not last forever. No one knows how it will change, or when. Combine that instability with a growing backlash among anti-Indian groups and others and we have a recipe for decline. Therefore, we would be prudent to treat today’s gaming income like it will not last forever. We must plan for a future without gaming and continue to invest and expand our businesses and aggressively pursue business and economic development opportunities in both national and international markets. As our businesses expand and produce larger revenues so will the profits and the job market for Cherokee people. The result is that the more people who become self-sufficient, the more we are able to provide quality care for those who are in need. 4. Should the Cherokee Nation make campaign contributions to local, state and federal candidates and why?It is vital that we help ensure the election of responsible and effective candidates who support the sovereignty and goals of the Cherokee Nation. Contributions to these candidates can help their election to state, local and federal governments. 5. If a constituent asked about the recent amendment to remove non-Indians from Cherokee citizenship rolls and the public backlash, how would you explain the issue to them?As a sovereign nation, the CN independently determines its own fate and governs its own people and affairs. As a result of its sovereignty, the CN has the right to choose its own citizens and set standards for acquiring citizenship. That citizenship right is derived from the CN Constitution, not from treat rights. The Cherokee people overwhelmingly voted on March 3, 2007, to require citizenship in the Cherokee Nation be by blood with an ancestor listed on the Cherokee Dawes roll. As a tribal council member, I consider it my duty to uphold the people’s rights of sovereignty and self-governance. 6. The Cherokee Nation received a letter from the Department of Interior stating that it did not recognize the 2003 Constitution approved by Cherokee Nation citizens. Do you agree or disagree with that opinion and why?The federal courts have repeatedly ruled that the CN has the right to determine its own laws and govern its own people. As a result the Cherokee people determined in 1999 that they want to self govern without interference from the BIA. It has long been proven that tribal governments govern their affairs more effectively and efficiently than the BIA. The Cherokee people are striving to become independent and have demonstrated that they want to self-govern. As a result, the elected leaders must be willing to work toward that goal. Our security must come from within and not from the federal government. 7. A Cherokee Nation District Court judge ruled that due to the separation of powers clause only the attorney general can file suit on behalf of the Cherokee Nation. Do you agree or disagree with that ruling and why?The responsibility for enforcing laws rests solely within the executive branch as required by the Constitution of the Cherokee Nation. The Attorney General is a government official of the executive branch and under the Constitution is authorized to represent the CN in criminal and civil actions. No other branch of government can exercise that power un the separation of powers doctrine. It would be unconstitutional for the Tribal Council to solely bring an action in court on behalf of the Cherokee Nation. That responsibility rests with the Attorney General.


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