Photo caption: Joe Tillman is the new Speaker of the Sixth Osage Nation Congress. CODY HAMMER/Osage News
Joe Tillman is the new Osage Nation Congressional Speaker and Paula Stabler is the Second Speaker after both were elected to the posts for the first time by their Sixth ON Congressional peers on April 23.
At the end of each Hun-Kah Session, the Congress elects their Speaker and Second Speaker posts to serve one-year terms, according to ON Congressional Rules. Congress also forms their select and standing committees at that time, which will also last one year.
Tillman, who is serving his first four-year term in Congress after winning office in 2016, assumed the Speaker’s seat following the officer election where he received six of 11 Congress member votes for the post. Outgoing Speaker Congressman RJ Walker, who was nominated along with Tillman, received five votes.
Stabler and Congressman Eli Potts each received nominations for Second Speaker during that respective election. Stabler, elected to her first four-year Congressional term in 2018, also received six votes and Potts received five. Congressional Clerk Shana Walker presided over the Speaker election and asked the Congress members for Speaker nominees.
Congresswoman Alice Goodfox nominated Walker and Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn nominated Tillman. Congress members voted for officers with a raise of hands for the nominee of their choice.
Congress members Goodfox, Brandy Lemon, Angela Pratt and Paula Stabler voted for Walker, who also voted for himself. Voting for Tillman were Scott BigHorse, Shannon Edwards, Whitehorn, Tillman (himself), Potts and Archie Mason.
As Tillman sat in the Speaker’s chair, he thanked his colleagues and “thanked Almighty God as we move forward.” Tillman then asked for nominees for Second Speaker.
Whitehorn nominated Potts and Goodfox nominated Stabler. Voting for Potts were Edwards, Whitehorn, Mason, Potts (himself) and Tillman. Stabler received votes from BigHorse, Goodfox, Walker, Stabler (herself), Lemon and Pratt.
As Second Speaker, Stabler will serve as Chief Administrative Officer of the Congressional Office to manage day-to-day operations of the office and staff and Chair of the Congressional Affairs Committee, per Congressional Rules.
Congressional Speaker report
Before the officer elections, Walker delivered a Congressional Speaker’s report for the conclusion of the 2019 Hun-Kah Session. Walker stated the Congress met for 56 Congressional committee meetings during the session; considered 52 bills and 13 resolutions; there was $4,357,164 in non-tribal funding appropriated and $503,328 in tribal funds appropriated.
“I do recall the first day of session standing at that podium stating my hope was that we could come up with some better budget law and we spent hours and hours collaborating across the table with the Executive Branch and the veto message (of ONCA 19-57) that we received was unprecedented and it was refreshing and I was glad to be a part of it … I want to thank the staff especially for all of their hard work,” Walker said.
A subsequent bill (ONCA 19-40 sponsored by Potts) to establish a budgetary process in law addressing the Executive Branch concerns was filed later in the session and the Congress approved it before session ended.
Congressional committees formed for 2019-2020
Also before session wrapped, the Congress members signed up for their one-year select and standing committee assignments and each committee met to elect officers. The select committee assignments are:
Appropriations: Potts (chair), Whitehorn, BigHorse, Edwards, Walker and Stabler.
Membership: Lemon (chair), Edwards and Walker.
Congressional Affairs: Stabler (chair), Whitehorn, Edwards, Walker and Potts.
Rules, Ethics and Engrossment: Pratt (chair), Lemon and Stabler.
Standing committee assignments are:
Commerce, Gaming and Land: Goodfox (chair), Pratt (vice chair), Whitehorn (Appropriations Committee representative), Lemon, Walker and Stabler.
Education: Potts (chair), Maker (vice chair), Edwards (Appropriations representative), BigHorse, Walker and Whitehorn.
Culture: BigHorse (chair and Appropriations representative), Walker (vice chair), Lemon, Pratt, Stabler and Maker.
Government Operations: BigHorse (chair), Maker (vice chair), Walker (Appropriations representative), Tillman, Potts and Goodfox.
Health and Social Services: Mason (chair), BigHorse (vice chair), Stabler (Appropriations representative), Lemon, Tillman and Pratt.