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All 16 Osage Congressional candidates certified to appear on 2024 General Election ballot

The Election Supervisor presented the board with a list noting all candidates have no felonies or disqualifications following background checks

Sixteen Osage Nation members seeking Congressional office in the June 3 General Election are all certified to appear on the ballot after the Wahzhazhe Elections Board approved the candidate list. 

The board met to certify the candidates on March 20 following postponement of the originally scheduled meeting two days earlier. Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre presented the board with a chart noting the 16 candidates have no felonies or disqualifications following background checks by the Attorney General’s office. 

The candidate list presented by Rencountre also includes a column labeled “Term Limit” that notes the number of full four-year terms that the five current incumbents and two past-Congress members have served so far. The Election Office is now keeping track of candidates’ current and prior terms served following the 2020 Osage Constitution amendment passage that added term limits of five terms for Congress members.   

“That’s a good document to have and we do need to track those term limits now,” Board Chair Shannon Lockett told Rencountre as the board members reviewed it.  

In addition to the no felony mandate, other candidate certification requirements are: Congressional candidates must be at least 25 years old by Election Day; Not disqualified to hold or enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit in the Osage Nation by a judgment in a removal trial; and Has not served five full terms in that position, plus any initial partial term fulfilled as the result of a vacancy.  

“We just need a motion to certify the candidates as listed,” Rencountre said. 

Board member Belle Wilson motioned to certify the 2024 General Election candidates as listed. Lockett joined Wilson in voting to certify the list while Board Member Terry Hazen was absent that day. “And the motion carries and the candidate listing is certified,” Lockett announced. 

There are six of the 12 total Congressional seats opening in the 2024 General Election. 

The candidate certification list has the 16 individuals’ names as follows in the order of candidacy filing: Joe Tillman (two terms served), John Maker (three terms served), Jodie Revard (one term served), Traci Phillips, Billy Keene (one term served), Pam Shaw (one term served), William Kemble, Christa Fulkerson, Maria Whitehorn (two terms served), Angela Pratt (two terms served), Tina Allen, Liberty Metcalf, Patrick Cullen-Carroll, Alexis Martin, Brooklin Sweezy and Jacque Jones. 

Lockett also notes: “by certifying the candidates today, we’ve started the clock on candidate contests if anybody (that is an Osage voter) wants to contest any of the candidates eligibility to run.” 

Rencountre said the office must post the list of certified candidates that same day “and then the clock starts ticking tomorrow and it’s three business days and that will end the contest of candidacy.”  

The candidate name order on the General Election ballot is subject to a drawing for name placement that Election Office staff will conduct on March 28, which is the same day a mandated candidate workshop is scheduled in Pawhuska. Candidates’ names will appear on the ballot in the order they are drawn. The candidate workshop will cover forthcoming election information and mandates, including candidate campaign finance reports. 

For more information on the ON General Election and questions on absentee ballots, visit the Wahzhazhe Elections Office website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/services/elections or call toll-free (877) 560-5286. 

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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