Share This:

District 1 candidate profiles

Observer Staff

10/28/2005 12:00:00 AM

District 1 voters will be able to vote for up to 10 of the following 20 candidates (incumbents designated with an atresic):

Charmaine Benz*, Lorna Call, Federico Cantu Jr.*, Adelaide Davis, Raymond "Archie" Davis, Timothy Davis, Audrey Falcon*, Michael Floyd Sr.*, Lindy Hunt, Brent Jackson*, Darryl Jackson, Delmar Jackson Sr.*, Delores Jackson, Josephine Jackson, Maynard Kahgegab Jr., Jeanette Leaureaux, Ruth Moses*, Milton "Beaver" Pelcher, Diana Quigno-Grundahl* and Bernard Sprague*.

(Editor's note: The following candidates responded to the Tribal Observer's request for a personal profile on their Tribal Council aspirations. The prospective Tribal Council representatives were asked why they are running; what they hope to accomplish and how they feel they could make a difference while serving on Tribal Council. Of the seven District 1 candidates that did not respond, Timothy Davis said he would decline the opportunity to participate. Phone messages were left and/or personal contact was made with Lorna Call, Darryl Jackson, Delmar Jackson Sr., Maynard Kahgegab Jr., Milton "Beaver" Pelcher and Diana Quigno-Grundahl. With all respects to time considerations, personal health or other commitments, the Tribal Observer strived to make sure all were included in this special feature.)

Charmaine Benz, 50

2005 Incumbent-Falcon Administration; Treasurer

I am proud to be a Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Member and am so very grateful for I've been given as a member.

We have so many opportunities that other Tribes don't have. It is an honor to serve the people and give back a little of what I've been given. It's kind of like saying, "Thank you."

If people believe in me and vote for me, then I believe I have an obligation to serve. To represent the people is the highest honor you can give them. Someone is saying I believe in you, you're a good person, so I try to honor them by doing my best.

Our administration has been striving to accomplish many goals; one of them being to diversify our economy.

We need to broaden our economic base. More and more, the dominant society is looking at gaming and seeing how lucrative it is-even the state of Michigan is looking at the money to save them from their own budget deficit.

We have to supplement our income by looking to other avenues to make money. On a similar subject, this administration has looked at ways to economize, streamline and eliminate duplication of services.

We have moved some of the portfolio accounts around to maximize interest and limit the amounts of cash we have. Moving these accounts and maximizing interest is the best way we have to make money for the future.

We have moved the Tribe in the right direction to be fiscally responsible to the future generations-our grandchildren. We must think about the future, our children and their children.

Our teachings tell us to always think about the next seven generations into the future. We would be neglecting our Elders teachings if we only think about today and not tomorrow.

I feel that I have been given a huge opportunity to complete my educational goals. I feel it a responsibility to give back to the Tribe. As a graduate of the Tribal Leadership Program, it is only proper for me serve the people to the best of my ability.

I've been given so many opportunities in my life, as an Army brat I have traveled all over the world and saw and met many different kinds of people.

As an adult, I offer my experiences and try to promote the people and give as much as I have been given. I have worked for the Tribe for more than 16 years, and have always worked with native people in my career as a social worker and as a writer.

I look forward to serving the people to the best of my ability what ever I do.

Federico Cantu, Jr., 36

2005 Incumbent; served as Tribal Chaplin

During my 16 years of employment with the Tribe, I have acquired leadership qualities attributed to many valuable experiences.

I have had the opportunity to work both the gaming side of the business as a finance director and on the government end as a fire chief.

As chairman, I serve on the board for the Isabella County Fire Chiefs Association. I am also a member of the Isabella County Medical Control Board.

If re-elected, I will ensure that our Tribe's future is stable by carefully monitoring our current assets and by supporting sound business opportunities, beyond the gaming industry.

I could make a difference on Tribal Council because I will represent our Tribe-not just any particular group or myself, but our Tribe as a whole-with honesty and integrity.

Adelaide Davis, 47

To serve the Tribal membership in an open and honest manner, I would like to participate in making positive, quality decisions.

If elected, I would strive to continue the positive progress of our Tribe such as the Elders assisted living and Behavioral Health.

Thank you for your consideration.

Raymond "Archie" Davis, 48

My experience includes working 28 1/2 years for our Tribe, including 21 1/2 years in gaming.

I intend to lookout for our future by protecting gaming and doing what's best for the Tribe.

Audrey Falcon, 52 2005 Incumbent; served as Tribal Chief

I have a deep love and respect for the Tribe and would like to continue serving the membership in a meaningful and helpful manner.

Serving executive council for two terms-2003-2005 as chief and 1981-1984 as treasurer-has proved to be very educational. Experiences gained have provided me with a great understanding of the planning process. Combined with dedication, I am confident in guiding the Tribe's future efforts in beneficial development and growth.

I believe we can move the Tribe forward in a positive fashion. Sometimes risks must be taken in order to create constructive changes. The current council has worked together as a team in making decisions. I am a team player and can facilitate open communications on Tribal issues.

We have developed a mission-a vision, while addressing Native issues with a proactive approach. This council has served as an assemblage of leaders rather than followers who have a passive attitude.

Communications have improved and I want to continue to facilitate more opportunities for Tribal members to provide input. Minutes will continue to be delivered to every household ensuring members are kept informed.

Our Tribe needs to continue asserting our sovereignty to the fullest extent by being proactive on issues such as protecting the great lakes and mother earth, while pursuing alternative energy.

The Tribe needs to diversify our Tribal economy and not be solely dependant on gaming revenue. We need to provide additional job opportunities to the membership. I would encourage members to seek higher education opportunities and seek employment.

I support Tribal entrepreneurs. The Business Board is investigating development of an economic development center and credit union.

The Tribe has a multitude of issues before it, like the senior residential center, a Tribal school, a recreation center for the community, a land use plan, additional housing development, enrollment issues, and sustaining our Anishinabe culture and language.

Two years is not enough time to really make a long term difference on council. I would request your vote and support re-electing me for Tribal Council.

Michael L. Floyd, Sr., 45 2005 Incumbent

We need to start thinking about the future to ensure our children and grandchildren have the same opportunities and financial benefits we receive today.

Some leaders step into positions of power out of love and a sense of mission. Others seek leadership merely to gain power over others and to revel in a smug feeling of superiority. Normally it doesn't take long to determine which sort of leader you've got.

Leaders are not given authority to better themselves, to enlarge their income or social status, or to improve their standard of living. They are first and always servants of others.

If re-elected, I would like to see our warehouse project completed and our youth center come to fruition by breaking ground in the spring of 2006. I believe the many years of experience gained in gaming combined with completing a crash course in Tribal politics-which was a true learning experience-will allow me to make a difference on Tribal Council. Thank you.

Lindy Hunt, 49

Today we are living in present of our ancestors. We need to make today count so future generations don't go through what we are experiencing today.

I have served on Council in the past, and know it's important to know what the community wants by seeking their input. But communications need to go both ways. Our community should be informed and I would be accountable to the people who vote me in.

I respect Christian and traditional beliefs.

I don't promise anything, but I give my word to try my best. I know I'm going to make mistakes; we all make mistakes. But if we learn from them, they can be corrected and not repeated.

We are capable of providing services to our people in a number of ways, but it is how we chose to help that makes a difference. We can't save everybody, only those who accept help, but team work is necessary in attaining the best for the majority.

We have to protect our Elders and our young ones to ensure the best for our future generations.

Brent D. Jackson, 35

2005 Incumbent; served as Sergeant-At-Arms

I care about the current state of our Tribe and community, but more importantly I care about our future. What actions or inactions we take now has a profound effect on our Tribe and community for generations to come. I want to ensure the success of our people not only in the political, but financial and business world as well. I believe in equality for all Tribal members-what is good for one, is good for all. Some of the key issues I would like to address are:

- Keeping council an open and democratic body of government serving all Tribal members.

- Expanding business and gaming opportunities.

- Protecting our Tribal sovereignty, while being more assertive at the federal and state level.

- Working with local governments for the betterment of the community.

- Working closely with Tribal and gaming budgets to cut waste and consolidate spending.

- Promoting competition among our vendors and suppliers to assure the highest quality goods and services at the lowest prices.

- Holding program directors and department heads accountable for their actions and spending.

- Continuing open communications with the membership and media.

I believe I can make a positive impact for our Tribe with my previous council experience and extensive gaming background. During my term on council I served as an alternate for both National Indian Gaming Association and National Congress of American Indians.

I previously worked in our casino for 10 years as a dealer, pit boss, supervisor and manager. I served as a gaming commissioner for over four years. I believe the future success of the Tribe depends on honesty and integrity. Any actions I take will always be based on the need of the Tribe, not the need of my family, friends, or myself.

Delores Jackson, 51

Having spent my entire life on the reservation in District 1, I have seen the many changes and growth our Tribe has had.

My goals would include:

- protecting our sovereignty;

- diversify and expand Tribal business enterprises;

- identify weak points and strive to improve them;

- to focus on issues being ignored; and

- on increasing the prosperity of the membership, including bonuses which could be done by spending less, such as the millions in political contributions over the years.

I would ensure open and better communications with the entire membership. My experiences derive from participating in Tribal programs, Tribal education and community events my entire life. Being born and raised here, I have lived through times when we had nothing, to the prosperity we have today.

I welcome the opportunity to make my statement and wish that all 57 original candidates would have been given the opportunity to express their outlook as well.

I would like the opportunity to address the hard issues and take action on them for you and the best interest of the Tribe. I will be accessible and put in my paid for 40 hours of Tribal Council time each week.

Help me build and protect the integrity of the future of the Tribe by casting your vote for me on Nov. 8. Whether you vote for me or not, I encourage you to cast your ballot.

Josephine Jackson, 69

I would like to introduce myself to the membership. I am a mother of six and have been married for 51 years.

As a Tribal member that has lived here on the reservation my entire life, I would like to mention that I am aware of the good, as well as the bad times in which our membership had to endure.

The struggle that we have been through-both historical and contemporary-has given me a wealth of knowledge throughout my years. Knowledge that I would like to continue to give back for the betterment of our people and Tribal Nation.

I have served on our Tribal government in various capacities throughout the years, such as, the first woman sub-chief and at times, Tribal treasurer.

A few reasons for which I am running for office:

- Protect and improve the Tribes' assets.

- Diversify and create new Tribal business ventures.

- Continue to protect the Tribes' sovereignty and use it to its fullest extent.

- Explore creative was in which Tribal members can participate in employment opportunities, such as job sharing and meaningful part-time employment for those of us who do not wish to work a full-time schedule.

- Encourage members to seek training and educational opportunities relevant to the Tribes future needs.

- Look after the needs and well-being of our Tribal Elders.

- Explore new and creative programs that are beneficial to all Tribal members, whether living on or off the reservation.

With your help, I hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of all Tribal members.

Jeanette Leaureaux, 59

I have served on Tribal Council since the early 1980s with my most recent during 1999 to 2001. I am running for Tribal Council to serve the Tribal members and our business ventures.

Expanding gaming is a goal of mine. It seems like all the other Tribes are expanding gaming ventures except the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

If we were to succeed at another gaming enterprise, we could provide bonuses to the membership again. As a Tribal member, I really appreciated the bonuses I received.

I would like to see the Personnel Commission reinstated at Human Resources. Too many Tribal members are not being hired for positions they apply for. Our first priority should be Tribal members. We have a lot of Tribal members that want to work and are not being hired.

With the Tribal Council working together as a whole, we can all make a difference.

I would also like to thank everyone that voted for me during the primary election. I really appreciated their vote. Thanks again.

Ruth Ann Moses, 50

2005 Incumbent; served as Secretary

I have lived on the Isabella Indian Reservation my entire life and I would like to let you know a few reasons why I am running for elected office.

First of all, I have always enjoyed the opportunity to help further advance our Tribe in all aspects of our social, cultural and economic development.

Growing up here, I have been a part of and witnessed many changes to our local and surrounding communities. By that I refer to the new roads, schools, water towers, sewage systems, business enterprises, and most of all-a large housing base in which our members can live and work.

As most people can understand, these things just don't appear overnight; it takes time and dedication to accomplish such goals. That is why I would like to express to the membership in my run for office, I am willing to continue moving the Tribe forward along a path of progress and stability.

The future of this Tribe depends on a stable government, one which cares for all it's members and makes sound business judgments for the future of it's people.

If I am elected to office, I would like to expand our business base within the gaming enterprise, as well as smaller commercial business ventures.

I would also like to continue our efforts and accom- plishments in the area of education for our membership. Education is our future.

One more important thing that I would like to accomplish this next term is to spend more time on the concerns and issues affecting the Tribal Elders. Without their presence and knowledge, we wouldn't be here.

As far as making a difference, I am very proud to have served our Tribe throughout these years.

We have had some difficult times, but we have had a lot of good and fruitful ones too.

I would be remised if I didn't mention our per-capita plan. The soundness of our per-capita plan rests solely on the stability of our Tribal government. Without it, we could be looking at hard times once again.

I would like to assure the membership that I will look out for their continued enjoyment and peace of mind regarding our per-capita plan in its present state, along with any future increases as the business dictates.

Thank you all so very much.

Bernard Dean Sprague, 49

2005 Incumbent; served as Sub-Chief

I am the youngest son of the late Philmon Sprague Sr. and the late Eleanor Thomas Sprague. I am married with two daughters.

I have served on five administrations, including my current position as the Tribal sub-chief with the Falcon (Audrey) Administration 2004-2005. My previous experience includes the Falcon (Ronald) Administration 1992-1993; Peters Administration 1999; Peters Administration 2000-2001; and Kahgegab Administration 2002-2003.

I am running for Tribal Council to serve the Tribal membership. It is an honor to represent my Tribe; to be able to share my wisdom, experience and leadership has been extremely rewarding.

It is very important to me to be able to give back to my Tribe in return for all of the excellent benefits and exceptional programs that have been available to the Tribal membership over the years.

There are many accomplishments that the current administration has completed and there are numerous projects that re progressing toward completion.

The importance of involvement cannot be overstated and I have been very supportive and instrumental in many of these projects.

It is my desire to be able to be a part of these ongoing projects until they are completed. These projects include, but are not limited to, the protection of our Elders and youth from illegal drug trafficking on the reservation, the Elders' Center, the youth facility, the Saganing Community Center, a credit union, education incentive plan, retirement plan, and a variety of other issues that affect Indian Country.

Some of these issues include the case filed in federal court against the state of Michigan over the Isabella Reservation boundaries, the tax ordinance, enrollment issues, and the most critical issue is protection of our sovereign immunity.

I have been extremely instrumental in protecting the assets of the Tribe for our future. Earlier this year, I testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee of Indian Affairs. My testimony was the first testimony of six Tribes who were ripped off $81 million dollars by scam artists ( Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon).

An out-of-court settlement was negotiated between the Tribe and Greenburg Traurig for the return of our money that was paid to these crooked lobbyists.

I was also very active in the success of amending the state of Michigan Constitution to stop the creation of racinos in Michigan (Proposal 1), thereby protecting our casino market.

I feel that I can make a difference for the future of the Tribe because I am dedicated to serving my Tribe. I am hard working, dedicated and trustworthy. I support the 1986 Constitution of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and I respect the decisions made by our Elders-past and present.