Visions of leadership: Principal chief candidates debate the issues
Challengers call for change
Sneed defends his record
Other candidates criticized him for approving hundreds of millions of dollars in expenditures for faraway business ventures, but in his opening remarks Sneed said that community projects and services are his first priority, with more than $200 million invested in these efforts during his administration. He couched economic diversification in the face of the gaming monopoly’s end as a priority that fits underneath the focus on community services, securing new revenue streams to support tribal programs should casino receipts falter.
“My commitment from the beginning is to ensure that the best-paying jobs and benefits that we have continue,” Sneed said. “We are a blessed community. My commitment is to ensure the benefits we enjoy now will be here not just for us but for our children, our great-children and seven generations to come.”
Sneed’s challengers agreed that the tribe is not “broke” but said its financial situation is worrisome — and not just because of the larger economic forces affecting the entire country.
Candidates discuss proposed constitution
On the ballot
Six candidates are running to hold the office of principal chief for the 2023-2027 term.
• Michell Hicks
• Gene “Tunney” Crowe Jr.
• Robert Saunooke
• Richard Sneed
• Lori Taylor
• Gary Ledford
Early voting has now concluded. Polls will be open on Election Day 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 1. Registered voters can cast a ballot at the polling place in their township. These are Big Cove Community Center, Birdtown Community Building, Big Y Recreation Center, Cherokee County Health Clinic, Painttown Community Building, Jacob Cornsilk Complex, Wolftown Recreation Center and Yellowhill Activity Center.
Watch the debate
The full debate is available online at livestream.com/accounts/10717024/events/10861520/videos/236245175 or via the EBCI Communications Facebook page.