Editor’s note: In the run-up to the June legislative elections, we are running articles on the two contested races this year. Below are two articles, one on the background and motivations of each candidate in the District 2 legislative race.

Anthony Cole

Seeking to pick up where he left off in the 2008 electoral contest against Eva Marie Carney, New Orleans’ Anthony Cole is once again running for the District 2 seat in the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Legislature.

Cole is the owner of New Orleans-based Blutique, a firm specializing in software application development for the casino industry. He has been a resident of Louisiana since 1998 following a four year stint in the Marine Corps.

Born in Durant and raised in Madill, Cole is a descendant of the Yott family on his mother’s side. He is President of the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard Parish, an organization whose volunteers offer their time and services to different issues affecting their communities.  His focus on community service was instilled at a young age when a family member’s medical expenses threatened to wipe out his parent’s finances.

“I’m a big believer in the idea that you should give back what you take,” said Cole. “Growing up, the tribe helped my family financially and gave me jobs during the summer to help make ends meet. Since the tribe gave me those opportunities when I was younger, I feel that serving in the legislature is my way of giving back.”

While supportive of the tribe’s current direction, Cole is again seeking the opportunity to sit in the CPN legislature in order to expand the focus of legislators’ roles as more than just community representatives.

According to Cole, “Legislators obviously have to be tribal representatives, but I’d like to see that also mean we advance the cultural knowledge of our constituents. A lot of Potawatomis, myself included, don’t know a lot about our culture, and as a legislator I’d like to expand our responsibilities in promoting that.”

Should he win the election, Cole will also seek to develop health coverage for Potawatomis in the Nation’s districts who have no immediate medical care facilities.

“I will push for improving our medical coverage for those outside of Oklahoma. Something as simple as preventative health care screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments that can be conducted at district meetings is one way of accomplishing this. My goal is to have one annual test per member,” noted Cole.

Eva Marie Carney

The incumbent in the District 2 race against Anthony Cole of New Orleans, Eva Marie Carney is technically running in her third CPN legislative election. She won the first election against four opponents, including Cole, and was unopposed the next.
“When do you have the privilege to become an elected official for your tribe, in a newly created government structure? That is a unique opportunity!  It’s why I decided to run in the first place – to help build the new government,” said Carney.

The long time Washington D.C. based securities defense lawyer initially became interested in governing following a position on Capitol Hill and serving as the first clerk for Superior Court Judge Robert I. Richter.

Carney has more than two decades of government service in the judicial, legislative and executive branches, including a ten year stint in the general counsel’s office of the Securities and Exchange Commission. She juggles her time as a full time partner at D.C. law firm Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP with her responsibilities as a CPN legislator for District 2, which spans 13 states and the District of Columbia. Mirroring the sentiments of other legislators outside Oklahoma, Carney said the greatest issue she faces is in solidifying a sense of community and “home” amongst the citizens of her large district.

On her goals if reelected, Carney says “I want to continue building a cohesive community in District 2. Seeing constituents connect and meet up together without my prompting has been one of the things I am very proud to have helped bring about during my time as their legislator.”

She currently connects with the district’s citizens through her monthly Hownikan columns, often-weekly emails, and via a private Facebook group she moderates for members of her district. Carney is a regular attendee at events in the Washington D.C. area that focus on issues concerning Native Americans and regularly travels to CPN events hosted throughout her district.  

A member of the Juneau family, Carney is the sister of District 8 representative Dave Carney. Many of Carney’s Potawatomi relatives settled in the Topeka, Kansas area; a number of others travelled east to New Jersey, where Carney was born.  Her Potawatomi lineage traces back to Josette Vieux Juneau, mother of Narcisse Juneau.  Narcisse served on the Tribe’s Business Committee and scouted out the original Oklahoma allotments in the late 1860s, traveling from Kansas.

The Stanford Law School graduate hadn’t been to Oklahoma prior to her original election to the legislature in 2008, but has since returned often to attend to government matters and the Family Reunion Festivals. 

Carney lives in Arlington, Virginia (right outside Washington D.C.) with her husband Alan Cohen. She can be reached toll free at 1-866-961-6988. Her email is ecarney@potawatomi.org and more information and photos of District 2 activities, Family Reunion Festivals, and Gatherings of the Nations she has attended since 2008 can be found at www.evamariecarney.com.