"Congratulations to Steve Ortiz for winning the Chairperson position. I hope people will let him serve out his term. We need stability in the worst way here. With the per cap voted in by a large margin, there will be deep cuts to programs and jobs. It makes me feel bad since the Indian Gaming Act was passed with the express intent to provide jobs for tribal members, but the people have spoken with this vote. This will also affect services for everybody. We can’t have high percaps and expect to receive the same benefits as before. I voted no, but I knew it would pass. In a general council meeting, I suggested raising the percaps in increments, 5% a year over the next 4 years to give everybody time to adjust to services and programs cut-backs, but nobody wanted to listen. I guess I didn’t make any sense. Oh, well.
Another thing I noticed during this election was the class displayed by many of the candidates. I heard Chago Hale tell my brother Eddie good luck in the election and the same with Tony Wahweotten. There was no animosity among those three whatsoever. That made me feel good. There is hope here. It’s not all hate. The same thing happened on election day when Steve won, the other candidates lined up and congratulated him. That showed class, too. There was nothing wrong with that at all. Maybe all of us can learn from these people and just maybe we will really progress as a tribe."
Gary E. Mitchell