The Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise Board elected its officers during its Aug. 22 meeting with Stacy Laskey voted as chairwoman.
Amid board structure changes from last year, Laskey served as interim chairwoman and presided over the gaming board as its body expanded from three to five members per ON Congressional legislation. The board elections come as the Nation prepares to improve its seven-casino gaming venture with Ponca City and Skiatook slated for new hotel/ casino projects. Construction on those projects is expected to begin this year.
According to the gaming board officer election results, Laskey (Osage) was elected chairwoman; Randy Carnett is vice chairman; and Candy Thomas (Osage) is secretary/ treasurer.
The remaining two gaming board members are Aaron Bighorse (Osage) and Ralph Haymond Jr. (Pawnee/ Otoe).
In a written statement, Laskey said: “The election was a long time coming, due to the changes in the board structure, the process of bringing new board members up to speed, Congressional elections, and a Board meeting with the full quorum of the Board. I am looking forward to the upcoming year, the possibilities, and opportunities to really make a difference. Due to the current unprecedented growth of Osage Casinos, the time required of the Board members can be taxing. I believe the experience and accessibility Mr. Carnett and Mrs. Thomas bring to the Board, will spread out the work flow, and bring us to a new level of involvement.”
Carnett also commented: “I believe this election of Board officers represents a new era for the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise. It is a privilege to serve and we believe we can assist in better defining the role and responsibilities of the Board, fulfilling its Constitutional mandate and providing a foundation that will serve to protect the Nation's interest far beyond our tenure.”
The board officer elections also occurred less than a month after the Third ON Congress passed a resolution approving a sovereignty immunity waiver for a $27.1 million bank loan used to fund the Skiatook and Ponca City casino projects. It passed with a 9-2 vote during the Aug. 20 special session.
Jennifer Bighorse, Osage Casino marketing director, said a groundbreaking ceremony for the Skiatook casino is planned for later this month, but one will not be held for the Ponca City project.