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Birdtown Tribal Council candidates share their vision

Birdtown Tribal Council candidates share their vision

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Among the challengers is Jim Owle, brother to Boyd Owle — the second pair of brothers on the ballot this May. In the Wolfetown Tribal Council race, Bo and Peanut Crowe are both seeking a seat. Jim Owle appeared in the 2019 General Election for vice chief  but lost to Alan “B” Ensley. The following year, a narrow vote  of Tribal Council removed Owle from the Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise Board — on which he had sat since 2014 and chaired at the time — due to issues surrounding cost escalation and documentation with the convention center project at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.

 two years later. Tribal Council  on eight of 12 charges relating to contracting and violating tribal procedures, among others, but both the process and results were controversial among tribal members. Council members who supported impeachment  in that year’s election.

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 this year, with voters to select two representatives for each of six townships. , Birdtown and Yellowhill all have enough candidates to warrant a primary race.

Rose and Lambert both responded to a Smoky Mountain News questionnaire asking for the experience, qualifications and political priorities they believe should persuade voters to mark their name on the ballot. Information about remaining candidates was compiled from various sources, including previous reporting from SMN, the tribal website and social media.

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Cyndi Lambert

news birdtown albertrose

Albert Rose

Prior to winning his first term on Tribal Council in 2013, Rose had retired from a 20-year career with UPS. After retirement in 2006, he started his own contracting firm and received a General Contractor License in both heavy highway and commercial building. In 2019, he was certified as a minority-owned, disadvantaged and small business enterprise, and qualified for the Small Business Administration’s HUBZone program to fuel growth in historically underutilized business zones. Rose attends compliance and regulatory training and visits with government representatives to further understand the intricacies of the construction process and construction law.

Joi Owle

Boyd Owle

He graduated from Cherokee High School, and at the age of 47 he enrolled in Montreat College, receiving an associate degree in 2004. From there he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2006 and a Master of Science in management and leadership in 2009. Prior to serving on Council, Owle worked at the Cherokee Boys Club for more than 20 years, at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for 12 years, and as tribal sanitation manager for eight years.

Jim Owle

On the ballot

This year, Cherokee voters will choose a principal chief, vice chief, 12 Tribal Council seats and three School Board seats, but not all these races attracted enough candidates to warrant a primary race. The following candidates will run in the Primary Election June 1 for principal chief, Painttown School Board and Tribal Council representing Painttown, Wolfetown, Birdtown and Yellowhill.

Principal Chief

• Michell Hicks

• Gene Crowe Jr.

• Robert Saunooke

• Richard Sneed

• Lori Taylor

• Gary Ledford


• Cyndi Lambert

• Albert Rose

• Joi Owle

• Boyd Owle

• Jim Owle


• Sean “Michael”

• Andre Brown

• Dike Sneed

• Jeff Thompson

• Richard Delano Huskey

• Carolyn West


• T.W. Saunooke

• David Wolfe

• Stephanie Saunooke

• Tom Wahnetah

• Ernest Tiger 

Wolfetown/Big Y

• Bo Crowe

• Andrew Oocumma

• Qiana Powell

• Chelsea Taylor

• Mike Parker

• Peanut Crowe

School Board Painttown

• Regina Rosario

• Micah Swimmer

• Keyonna Hornbuckle

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