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HomeCommunity2024 Osage Congressional candidates meet with UOSC gathering attendees

2024 Osage Congressional candidates meet with UOSC gathering attendees

The United Osages of Southern California met on March 16, 2024, with more than 80 attendees traveling to Carlsbad

CARLSBAD, Calif. – With the 2024 General Election taking place June 3, some of the Osage Nation Congressional candidates visited here with Osages and their families attending the United Osages of Southern California Spring Gathering.

During the March 16 event, the candidates were invited to share some remarks about their campaigns at the event held in the Carlsbad Senior Center attended by approximately 80 attendees, including Osage Nation officials, Osages and their families, with several living in the San Diego and Los Angeles metro areas.

Congressman Joe Tillman, who is seeking another term, did not use his speaking time to campaign but instead spoke about the Constitutional amendment question, which will be on the ballot along with 16 total certified candidates running for six Congressional seats. The yes/ no question for Osage voters asks whether appointees can be confirmed during Congressional special sessions aside from the two yearly regular sessions that are held nearly six months apart.

“We can’t vet or confirm appointees by the Executive Branch, Chief (Geoffrey) Standing Bear until we’re in regular session, so what that does – it puts someone on a board or commission that’s in there voting (as an interim member) and making mega-million-dollar decisions, whether it be in gaming, whether it be on the LLC, whether it be on our ranch – they haven’t been confirmed by the Congress and they can go (up to) six months,” Tillman said. “And so, we’ve had cases where they come in after six months and we don’t confirm them and it’s embarrassing to them and it’s embarrassing to their families.”

“So our plan is really simple: If there is an appointment made by the Chief’s office, we’ll go right into special session and confirm and vet those folks,” Tillman said. “So it will be on the ballot when you vote this year. It (the resolution to refer the question to voters) passed out of Congress unanimously.”

Traci Phillips, a first-time candidate, also made her first trip to visit with UOSC attendees. “That’s what we do, the same thing back home is to get to know each other and fellowship and have food and learn more about what’s going on … My husband and I started a business 21 years ago, we have an electronics recycling company, so I’ve had 21 years of running and managing a company and working with federal governments, state agencies, tribal governments in multiple states, as well as listening and working with employees and customers.”

“That’s given me a base to learn how to cooperate and listen to all sorts of different voices and make decisions at all different levels,” Phillips said. I’m running because I believe that my personal background and experience in the environmental industry gives me a different perspective that I think would add value to the Nation and what we currently do … I know how to get in, work hard with other people and I look forward to the opportunity to serve.”

Maria Whitehorn previously served two Congressional terms and is seeking reelection. “I’m out here in two capacities: As the chair of the Osage Shareholders Association and also as a candidate for Congress. In my capacity as (OSA) chair, I have been able to see things that are going on in our Minerals Estate that really need our attention as shareholders. And I truly believe when we get together as shareholders and discuss the issues, that we can effect change on our Minerals Estate. I want to support our Minerals Council, sometimes they have a rough time getting the support that they need. Our current Congress has been very good to give them what they need, but I think we need some legislation to help them out a little bit more.”

“That’s one of the main reasons I’m running for Congress – As a Congress member, a lot of times we hold back and say ‘oh we can’t do anything to the Minerals Estate’ but I believe that we can, I believe we can draw some clear lines with legislation that lines out the true authorities that our Minerals Council has in the Constitution and that the Congress has in the Constitution,” Whitehorn said.      

Southern California resident Patrick Cullen-Carroll is also a first-time Congressional candidate who noted he’s attended the California Osage regional events dating back to childhood along with older generations whose family members also continue to attend. “As far as my background, I was a teacher (38 years) and 50 years still doing stuff as a (weightlifting) coach. I am a candidate for the Osage Nation Congress, my grandmother was Ethel Goad and she was an original allottee… As a coach, people talk about pressure and I tell people the thing about (especially) coaching and teaching is everything you did all week, you’re on view on Friday night, so whatever job you did, everybody saw it, so pressure’s part of what I do,” he said.

“What I care about is what is going to be there for my grandchildren and when I look around this room, I know there’s a lot of people I’d like to say ‘you saw me growing up, we’re growing up at the same time’… Hopefully as I do this, I will be what I think, and it’s in the Constitution, the first at-large person that is on the Congress that is not from there,” Cullen-Carroll said. “And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or a good thing, I’m not here to knock anybody, I’m just saying I think there’s a lot of things I can add and I want to add them … I’ll be the middle ground guy.”

Incumbents John Maker and Pam Shaw, who is Congressional Second Speaker attended the UOSC gathering, but did not speak with the other candidates who asked for attendees’ votes in their remarks. Shaw is running for a second Congressional term and Maker is seeking his fourth term. Congressman Eli Potts was also in attendance.

Outgoing Congresswoman Paula Stabler also attended and addressed the crowd. She served one four-year term and a two-year term that ends in July when the General Election winners take their oaths as members of the 9th ON Congress.

“That was a decision I actually made a long time ago … I just want to thank everybody for the honor I had to sit on Congress,” Stabler said. “I’ve been ‘on the hill’ as we call it back home for 25 years – I spent five years at the BIA, five years in the Chief’s office, seven years in the clinic (now called the Wahzhazhe Health Center), 10 years as chair of Pawhuska Indian Village (committee), and the last six on Congress. And I really appreciate the support that everyone’s given me – my list is done.”

All voted absentee ballots must be received in Pawhuska by Election Day to be counted with in-person ballots. In-person voting will take place at the Pawhuska Osage Casino & Hotel as follows:

Early voting Day 1: Friday, May 31, noon to 7 p.m.

Early voting Day 2: Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, June 3 Election Day: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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