Leek Lake Election Results!

From: feather eaglerock

January 28, 1997 election results for
Secretary/Treasurer of the Leech Lake
Reservation Business Committee:

Linda Johnston of Cass Lake defeated Walter "Frank" Reese of Onigum 783-608.

Frank Reese's statement to the press: "One of us had to come in second, the people made their choice.. I don't feel bad about losing to Linda, she's a capable person. The important thing is that Leech Lake experience the true meaning of majority vote. That's a big step toward the democratic process."

Both candidates ran on platforms of change and integrity in the Leech Lake government.

Position statement of Linda Johnston:

"My campaign platform is simple. But I believe it covers the three areas needed for change. We need internal controls. We need to plan for the future. And we need to listen to the voice of the people.

Internal controls are already mandated in the duties of the Secretay-Treasurer. My first priority will be setting up accounting Procedures, educating the Council and staff of the Accounting Procedures, and then enforcing them. This is just the beginning, however. We need constitutional reform to have true checks and balances, such as an independent judiciary or a capable bureaucracy operating under sound administrative procedures, so that politicians cannot use their positions for personal power or gain.

My second priority will be planning for the future. This will include restructuring the Planning Division into an Economic or Business Development Division. We need to organize and seek input from an informal Business Advisory Committee made up of band members with expertise in business. We need good business decisions to lay the foundation for all future developments on Leech Lake. These decisions will affect the casinoes, educational, social and cultural programs, and the enviornment. Perhaps we should work on forming our own construction company or companies first, which could pay for itself when we build our first economic development project. Personally, I think Leech Lake could build a strong private sector economy based on tourism and recreation alone. Tourism mid year round recreation can only support our casino industry. The opportunities which are coming will be the key to Leech Lake's future prosperity. The state is building a four lane highway from the bypass east of Bemidji to Cass Lake. A large part of it was completed this summer and fall. Plans also call for bringing the four lane from Little Falls all the way to connect with Highway 2 in Cass Lake, the Paul Bunyan Expressway. With the opening of this expressway the tourism population is expected to double or triple, creating a tourism boom. The opportunities which are coming will be the key to Leech Lake's future prosperity.

In order to compete we need to start keeping the money in our community as long as possible. Most of our money now goes to non-Indian businesses. We need to circulate our money 2-3 times before it leaves by expanding what businesses we have, developing new ones, and becoming competitive.

My third priority will be to listen to the voice of the people. On major issues which affect the reservation we should use the referendum vote. A five person Tribal Council cannot effectively manage all the RTC programs, the gaming division, the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, and the Tribal College. We have to separate business decisions from political ones. I am committed to establishing an independent Gaming Commission and I will repeatedly introduce resolutions for independent boards. Boards that are elected by the people in order to avoid political appointments.

The Local Councils are already officially recognized by resolution but an official process needs to be in place that will spell out the method of input on decisions. I am committed to obtaining input from the Local Councils and will direct the appropriate administration to work with commuities to formulate a process.

I have visisted and listened to many people these past weeks. Many of them employees, some past employees, and sompe potential employees of Leech Lake. I will work toward empowering our employees by introducing a resolution to revise the Personnel Policies. This resoution will support training and education for band members so that our band employees will be promoted first. Our band employees must be encouraged, supported, and protected as we will be successful."

Bernard J. Rock, Sr.
Leech Lake Pillager Band
Spotted Eagle Warrior Society
North Central Minnesota Native American
Veterans Outreach and Resource Center
"Vets helping Vets"

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