Hargis confirmed as registrar, special election set for Dist. 7
Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett administers the oath of office to the new tribal registrar, Frankie Hargis, as her granddaughter Evan Thomas and son Tyler Thomas hold the Bible on Nov. 26 in the Tribal Council Chambers. Hargis resigned her seat as Dist. 7 Tribal Councilor so a special election has been set for Jan. 5 to fill her seat. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Tribal Councilors unanimously confirmed former Dist. 7 Tribal Councilor Frankie Hargis as the Cherokee Nation’s new registrar for the Registration Committee during a Nov. 26 special meeting.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker nominated the Stilwell resident to fulfill the term of former Registrar Linda O’Leary, who retired. The term runs concurrent with the principal chief’s term, which ends Aug. 14.
Hargis served on the Tribal Council from December 2011 until her appointment as registrar.
“Serving the Cherokee people has been one of the greatest honors of my life, and I am so happy to continue that service as the tribe’s new registrar,” Hargis said. “Former Registrar Linda O’Leary did great work in leading a department that erased an application processing backlog and implemented a Cherokee Nation photo ID, and I am excited to continue that progress so that our citizens are served efficiently. I thank Chief Baker and the Tribal Council for their support and look forward to working with the great staff in the tribe’s registration department.”
As registrar, Hargis will be charged with managing the Registration Department and overseeing the processing of CN citizenship applications and Certificate Degree of Indian Blood certifications.
During her time on the Tribal Council, she served on all committees and chaired the Health Committee from 2015-17. Hargis served as an advisory board member for Cherokee Nation Businesses and the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation.
“Frankie Hargis has continuously displayed a dedication to the Cherokee people that is second to none. She brings a wealth of knowledge about our government, laws and processes to this critical leadership position,” Baker said. “She has deep roots in Adair County, with a proven track record in project management. Because the Registration Department is many times the first touch point people have with the Cherokee Nation and our enrollment process, it is important to have a qualified professional like Councilor Hargis. I know she and her staff will continue to work diligently to serve our citizens.”
She also worked with Baker’s office to lead a health care initiative that resulted in the expansion of the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell, as well as three other CN health centers. She also helped facilitate the building of a new CN Child Development Center in Stilwell.
“Serving on the Tribal Council with Frankie Hargis has been an honor and a privilege. The work ethic example she set for the role of Tribal Councilor is truly inspiring,” Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner said. “She was always willing to listen to our citizens and help in any way she could. I know she will take that same work ethic and apply it to her new role as registrar of the Cherokee Nation. She will be missed on our legislative body, but I am happy in knowing that her service to the Cherokee people will continue.”
Because of Hargis’ resignation from the Tribal Council, legislators also passed a resolution setting Jan. 5 as the date for a special election to fill the Dist. 7 seat. That seat’s term doesn’t expire until Aug. 14, 2021, and therefore must be filled via a special election. According to the CN Constitution, the special election must be held within 90 days following the seat becoming vacant.
According to the Nov. 26 resolution, candidacy filing dates were set for Nov. 27-29 and voter registration will close Dec. 11.
EC officials said absentee ballot applications would be accepted until Dec. 11 and that early absentee walk-in voting would be held Jan. 3-4 at the EC office in Tahlequah.
The election is for Dist. 7 citizens only. According to the EC, four precincts would be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 for voters to cast ballots. Those precincts are the Wilma Mankiller Clinic at Highways 51 and 59 in Stilwell, Lyons Switch Community Center at 463101 E 914 Road in Bunch, Westville School Cafeteria at 500 W. Chincapin in Westville and the NAOC Chewey Community Building at 61714 S 4645 Road in Watts.
If a runoff election is needed, the Tribal Council has set that for Feb. 2. For more information, call the EC at 918-458-5899.