In this piece, we spoke to District 8 incumbent Dave Carney, a real estate broker and challenger Clyde Slavin, an optometrist about their views on the upcoming election.

If you win, how would you engage District 8’s constituents to make them feel more a part of the tribe?

Dave Carney “In my current term as the District 8 Legislator I have brought the government to the people by having meetings in Anchorage, Portland, Missoula, Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, Eugene, Wasilla, Seattle and Olympia. Many members had never before been to a CPN event or traveled to the Nation. Friendships have been formed and family ties have been re-kindled at these gatherings.

I also hold an annual Fall Feast event that brings the traditions and history of the tribe to our members, including genealogy, traditional dance, beadwork and other crafts, which has become a popular and well-attended event. If re-elected, I plan to continue this outreach.

I also send out regular e-mail updates several times per month and have created a closed Facebook group exclusively for District 8. Feedback from members is that they are experiencing a sense of tribal community.”

Clyde Slavin“Several years ago at a regional meeting in Tacoma, Wash., Chairman Barrett introduced the tradition of naming. My comment to my wife was this made perfect sense. With the growth in membership we need traditions to maintain connections to our Citizen Potawatomi Nation. I would seek Citizen Potawatomi Nation traditions to promote, not those of other tribes and cultures that are labeled Native American or American Indian. We are Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a distinct tribe with our own traditions.

To immediately make the Citizen Potawatomi in District 8 feel more a part of the tribe, I would contact every member where possible by phone or in person and ask three questions.

First, is there something I can help you with? Second, do you know of a need our Citizen Potawatomi Nation should address? Third, do you know of someone in our tribe that needs help now? With every resource available to me I would proceed to find answers or solutions to their responses.”

What is the most pressing issue you see facing the tribe?

Dave Carney“The greatest issue facing the Nation is the same as facing the U.S. as a whole. Our population is getting older and people are living longer while facing financial and health challenges. How will the Nation help to fill the needs of this growing group?”

Clyde Slavin“The most pressing issue facing the tribe is equality. The foundation of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation is good, strong and functions.”

How would you propose addressing it?

Dave Carney “The diversification of our enterprises away from the “sin” base of gaming and tobacco is key to generating enough income to continue to support and expand programs to assist our elders.  I am proud of my voting record to grow our businesses and my support of the development of projects like the Iron Horse Industrial Park for the future.

Tax revenues generated from businesses that may relocate or start up on our land (as a result of the HEARTH act) will also be key to having the financial means to take care of our elders through programs like the mail order pharmacy and senior housing.

A key part of my job has been assisting elders’ access the benefits currently available to them.”

Clyde Slavin“Further change is needed in our constitutional system to provide for equality, one man- one vote. I favor all 16 of the representatives seated on the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Legislature be elected from equally apportioned districts, not just the legislators from Districts 1 thru 8. It is time to work toward equality of voting power as well as equality of services provided for every Citizen Potawatomi Nation member.”

Turnout is low in tribal elections given the numbers of registered and eligible voters. Why do you think it is important for tribal members to vote?

Dave Carney “Turnout for District 8 is about five percent of the members living in the district. It’s important for people to have their voices heard in the direction they want the tribe to go. I believe as people feel more connected to the tribe we will continue to see participation grow, however, I do feel that the process currently in place is too cumbersome and should be streamlined.

I’d like to see members register to vote and to be able to vote on a secure website by providing their tribal ID number and an electronic signature. The current method of requesting an absentee ballot each time and then mailing a paper copy needs to change in the coming years.”

Clyde Slavin“Election turnout will always be a problem, but we can make it better.

First, once registered to vote there should not be a need to request a ballot with each election. If the address doesn’t change the Citizen Potawatomi Nation voter receives a ballot. All postage will be paid by the tribe. Second, the election campaigns need to provide a candidate pamphlet to all eligible voters in a district with an election. Third, ballots should be time sensitive. Distribution of ballots will only occur after every candidate has a timely opportunity to address the voters, either in person or by mailings. Forth, limited campaign mailings should be available to registered voters, at the expense of the candidates. Fifth, any email list collected by the incumbent through the requests published by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in the Hownikan will be available to all candidates for use.

The importance to vote is important to effect change and raise concerns. Support the system but always look for ways to improve it.”

Dr. Clyde B. Slavincan be reached phone 360-909-3776 or email at