Tulalip Board incumbents win re-election

TULALIP — It was a win for incumbency on March 12.

The Tulalip Tribes' elections for three seats on their Board of Directors saw Board Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. re-elected, along with fellow Board members Glen Gobin and Chuck James Jr.

The seven-member Board's three-year terms expire on a rotating basis, and the candidates who receive the highest number of votes are elected to the Board. The trio of incumbents faced  14 challengers, including former Quil Ceda Village General Manager and current state Rep. John McCoy. Out of the 2,830 total votes received by all 17 candidates, Sheldon received 420 votes, Gobin received 402 votes and James received 297 votes. The next-nearest candidate, Deborah Parker, received 265 votes.

Not only did Tribal members re-elect Sheldon as Board Chair, James as Board Treasurer and Marie Zackuse as Board Secretary, but they also elected Gobin to his new post as Board Vice Chair.

Sheldon described the election as one with no real surprises, and accounted for the number of candidates by complimenting his fellow Tulalip Tribal members on expressing their concern for the Tribes through running for the Board.

"We have really good leadership right now and I believe our members see that," Sheldon said. "The Board has guided the Tribes through some perilous financial times."

At the same time, Sheldon pledged to communicate better with the Tribes' membership and keep them better informed better, as well as to improve delivery of the Tribes' service programs.

"We have a very intelligent membership who cares," Sheldon said. "We always seek ways to improve, and good ideas come from those running for the Board."

Sheldon credited the Board with keeping the development of Quil Ceda Village moving forward, and maintaining funding for service programs to aid Tribal members, in spite of ongoing tough economic times.

"The most important issue facing us is the epidemic addiction," Sheldon said. "The use of oxycontin appears to have receded but heroin has replaced it as a drug of choice. Other municipalities which have seen dramatic rises in the use of heroin, and we are no different. We must work closer together to send a message to drug dealers that this is unacceptable."

Sheldon deemed the March 12 election to be evidence that Tulalip Tribal members take their leadership seriously.

The elected Board members and officers will be sworn in and take office During the April 1-2 Board meeting.

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