The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has elected six members to its 22-member tribal council. The new members, who will serve three-year terms, were elected at the June 4 general council meeting.
Each year, members of the Cowlitz Tribe are invited to attend the meeting and, if eligible, cast ballots in the election in person or by mail.
“On behalf of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, I extend our deepest congratulations to our newly elected and re-elected Tribal Council members,” Patty Kinswa-Gaiser, general council chair, said in a press release Monday. “I look forward to hearing from new voices while nurturing strong relationships throughout the council so that, together, we can best fulfill the needs of all the members of our Tribe.”
The newly elected members will be sworn in July 9. The members are: Cheryl Bell, incumbent; Cassandra Sellards Reck, incumbent; Maverick Ryan, incumbent; Larry Kestner; Kristopher Kitz and Vanessa Robertson.
This year, 15 candidates, including three incumbents, vied for the six seats. Councilwoman Barbara Middaugh chose not to pursue another term. Two vacant seats were also at stake.
The tribal council governs matters related to economic development, land management, service delivery, judicial matters and the tribe’s cultural integrity — weighing future needs against current ones and making balanced decisions about issues that impact the tribe’s members and the broader community.
The tribal council also exercises legislative powers regarding tribal membership and enrollment, and negotiates with federal, state and local governments, and with the councils or governments of other tribes.