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News Hicks elected for three consecutive terms

First Chief in five decades to do so

Principal Chief Michell Hicks won Thursday's election of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians with 2,124 votes to secure his third four-year term as Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. He is only the second individual to serve three terms in the Tribe's history.

Hicks beat out his challenger, Patrick Lambert, by a narrow 135 votes. Write-in candidate, Susan Toineeta, received 80 votes overall.

Lambert, who serves as the executive director of the Cherokee Tribal Gaming Commission, first ran against Hicks in the 2007 election, where he lost by a mere 13 votes.

Michell Hicks First Chief in five decades to do so

Thursday's election drew out more voters causing another close race. Lambert won the vote in the Birdtown (Lambert 536/Hicks 529), Big Cove (Lambert 248/Hicks 211) and Snowbird (Lambert 295/Hicks 280) communities, tied Hicks for 336 votes in the Wolftown community. Hicks won the vote in the Painttown (Lambert 251/Hicks 219), Yellowhill (Lambert 217/Hicks 299) and Big Y (Lambert 105/Hicks 150) communities.

Over the next four years Hicks plans to continue to bring change to the reservation. He has already begun plans to bring more jobs to the Department of Social Services, and also has plans to build a new state-of-the-art justice center.

One change Hicks is sure to be focusing on is the expansion of gaming in Harrahs Cherokee Casino. Hicks has been working closely with North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue in negotiations of amending the gaming compact between the Tribe and the state in order to be able to incorporate live table gambling. Once negotiations are complete, the North Carolina Senate will vote on the amended compact when they reconvene on September 12.

If passed, the expansion could be yet another defining moment in Hicks' career. If the reservation was to be allowed live tables, they would become the first to do so, and the only location in North Carolina, and much of the east coast to provide that entertainment. There would be a substantial increase in gaming revenue, which would help stimulate the economy for the reservation and the surrounding communities.

Vice Chief Larry Blythe beat out his challenger, Teresa McCoy by a 2112 to 2036 vote. McCoy decided to run for Vice Chief after serving eight two-year terms on the Tribal Council as a representative of the Big Cove Community.

Only one new face will be joining the Tribal Council. Bo Taylor was elected to his first term as a representative of the Big Cove Community. All incumbents, Perry Shell (Big Cover), David Wolfe and Alan “B” Ensley (Yellowhill), Gene “Tunney” Crowe and Jim Owle (Birdtown), Tommye Saunooke and Terri Henry (Painttown), Mike Parker and Dennis Edward (Wolftown/Big Y) and Adam Wachacha and Diamond Brown (Cherokee County-Snowbird) won against their opponents and will be serving another two-year term for the Tribe.


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