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St. Marks wins in Rocky Boy - again

The winners of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation special election are Ken Blatt St. Marks for chairman and Ted Whitford Sr. for the committee seat.

St. Marks won with 300 votes with a 100-vote lead over Dustin Whitford, the runner-up for the Chippewa Cree Business Committee chair position.

St. Marks was unavailable for comment this morning.

"The Chippewa Cree people spoke again and, if this is what they want, I hope he can work with and, as far as I'm concerned, I will do my best to work with whoever I have to work with," Whitford said. " ... I respect the people's decision."

"I think whoever sits in that position, they need to sit in a professional manner," Whitford said. "A respectful manner."

He said he hopes that all council members familiarize themselves with the four documents most pertinent to their positions: the Chippewa Cree tribal constitution, the code of conduct for the Business Committee, the law-and-order code and the personnel policies and procedures.

Whitford holds a seat on the business committee and his term continues for two more years.

The election board must wait five days to give the candidates who lost the election a chance to appeal or protest, and then they may move forward with swearing in new officials.

Windy Boy and Whitford said they have no intention of filing an appeal or protest.

"I just want to try and get moving," Whitford said, adding that he hopes the four committee members elected in the recent election that is being challenged can be sworn in.

This is the third time St. Marks has been elected chair. He was removed for office by the council one time, and the results of the second election were invalidated.

He said the tribal establishment is against him because dealing with federal prosecutors exposing corruption. Business Committee members say St. Marks has been guilty of misconduct and sexually harassing employees.

The four committee members currently waiting to be sworn in may or may not have to run for their seats again, depending on whether tribal judges rule in favor of Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy, who ran in the election, lost, and appealed the results because an honorary Chippewa Cree member voted in the election.

If the judge sides with him, there will have to be another election for the four seats.

"I think the people are tired of elections," Whitford said, laughing. "Let's give them a break until 2016."

The third-place runner up for chair, Windy Boy, said he wants to wish the new chairman congratulations.

"I wish the chairman the best of luck," Windy Boy said. " ... That's what the people wanted. If it's going to happen, it'll happen."

He said he is not too disappointed about losing the election because he is still helping his tribe through his work with the Montana Legislature.

"Even though I was unsuccessful in that, it does not undermine the other work I am doing here," he said. "I'm still supporting my tribe."

He spoke of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program funding he pushed for and got passed in the Legislature.

"I'm going to concentrate my work here at the capital and get stuff done," he said. "That's what I'm good at."

Next year, the chairman's term will be up and another, officially planned, election will have to be held.

The electronic polling machine broke down some time during the elections, but the election board members switched to paper ballots and Whitford said he does not think this is reason enough to file an appeal.

How the votes fell

For chairman:

Ken Blatt St. Marks, 300

Dustin Whitford, 200

Jonathan Windy Boy, 167

Bert Corcoran, 53

For councilmember

Ted Whitford, Sr., 200

Raymond "Jazz" Parker, 191

Duane Gopher, 97

Leon "Blackie" Sutherland, 64

Brian "Kelly" Eagleman, 54

Tanya Schmockel, 34

Ervin Kenneth Watson, 32

Ken Standing Rock, 26

Stacey Small, 23


Reader Comments(1)

rbcitizen writes:

Well, aunti got what she wanted. her nephew won, and Jonathan you are doing a good job at the capital, keep up the good work. Even president Obama said it in his State of the Union address, The vote is the most sacred to the people of this nation. Maybe this time we can work together and start conducting business for the people of this Tribe. Also, the Guardians Project still needs to conduct there business here on the reservation.