Tribal candidate Q&As: May 2019 — District 13
May 2, 2019
Tribal candidate Q&As: May 2019 — District 11
May 2, 2019

Tribal candidate Q&As: May 2019 — District 10

In addition to the annual Tribal budget, Citizen Potawatomi voters will cast ballots for three competitive races for Oklahoma’s at-large legislative seats this June. The Hownikan asked the candidates about their backgrounds and reasons for running for Tribal office.

David Barrett (incumbent)

How would you address the issue of growing Tribal enrollment? Is there a point where you believe it should be limited?

“We are happy at each legislative session to enroll approximately 200 new members each quarter. We have facilitated growing our enrollment thru the Hownikan, district meetings, Festivals and knowledge of our excellent services. By not limiting enrollment on Blood Quantum, we have grown our Nation from little over 1,500 members on the 1887 allotment rolls to now 34,582. Limiting our members is out of the question; however, for us to maintain the increased supply and demand that comes along with these new members, we are having to be very diligent, innovative and forward thinking not to jeopardize future generations.”

What are some specific ways you believe CPN can diversify investments?

“A prudent investor will never have all investments in one basket unless it is guaranteed. Our nation has First National Bank and CDC. We have enterprises that affect our daily lives such as grocery stores, clinics, housing, casinos and real estate. What about creating entities that will affect our later years of living like a hospital, funeral home facilities, columbarium, and a Potawatomi and Veterans Memorial Cemetery? I would like to set up immediately a Nation’s Endowment Foundation so individuals can bequeath or donate. Diversification into manufacturing has many opportunities to bring employment and housing (another project) to our community.”

Oklahoma legislators have a unique role as at-large representatives, what will you do to involve fellow Citizen Potawatomi in the governing process here?

“Having meetings over our state has always been a desire of mine; however, due to the scheduling of each legislator’s meeting individually or as a group of eight (including the Executive branch) to cover our state has never materialized. Thus we have to utilize the Hownikan columns which gives our emails addresses and phone numbers allowing us to inform and gain feedback for involvement with our constituents. Making myself available at the Festival and during the year, I do visit the senior citizen and I am involved with our veterans thus allowing individuals to ask questions about our Nation’s activities.”

How do you define leadership?

“A leader is someone who has the art of motivating a person or a group of people to achieve a common goal. Strategic planners are not everything you need; however, strategies are nothing without effective communication to ensure both sides understands the tasks and is motivated. Leaders must also command respect and trust along with focusing on the job at hand with the attributes of being a good listener and being honest. A leader will give credit to everyone else when things go well; however, when things go wrong they look at themselves and take full responsibility.”

Norman Brasfield (challenger)

How would you address the issue of growing Tribal enrollment? Is there a point where you believe it should be limited?

“Seeking the membership council’s advice is always a good place to begin with any perceived enrollment concern, the March 1989 Hownikan, reported 1,919 Citizen Band Potawatomi Tribal Members voted as a majority to amend the enrollment criteria to descendancy membership.

“Today our membership has grown to about 34,000 members. Comparison of this number against the membership of the 805 Iowa members is very large, but for perspective, consideration of the 355,000 members in the Cherokee Nation reduces CPN membership enrollment to a nonissue.”

What are some specific ways you believe CPN can diversify investments?

“Last year I attended the Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas, an event held by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. I saw what other tribes were doing to generate revenue beyond gaming and tobacco. A few had pulled resources to procure apartment complexes that generate a low risk income. Some invested startup costs for member owned businesses and profited as the businesses grew. A larger tribe went with a third party money management firm with a high projected return on investment. Our tribe has many opportunities to grow and prosper to make life better for its people.”

Oklahoma legislators have a unique role as at-large representatives, what will you do to involve fellow Citizen Potawatomi in the governing process here?

“Currently, the Oklahoma legislators have no budget to ‘take the government to the people.’ Networking and building a Tribal member contact database can easily be accomplished, meet and greet with a smiling introduction and a handshake when seeing a Potawatomi tag. One contact can and will generate 10 to 20 other members or more.

“Today, the elders speak about the way things were done in the past. Young and old alike have not yet realized the quite power of the petition process available in the 2007 Constitution.”

How do you define leadership?

“Leadership in its most basic form is the ability to influence. Hitler’s leadership cleverly deceived many, promising a shining future while delivering the Jewish Holocaust. Reverend MLK had a dream of peaceful protest for human rights, rioting erupted across the nation when he was killed.

“JFK once pondered what makes a great leader and realized Gandhi was recognized as a great leader but beat his wife. JFKs own father was considered a great leader but was a womanizer. Thankfully, JFK decided to simply be a good man.

“Individuals have a choice, to go fast alone or to go far together.”