Ute Mountain Ute election officials are reporting a record number of candidates for the tribe’s Oct. 10 election.
Tribal members will vote for chairman, two Towaoc council members and a White Mesa, Utah representative.
Ute Mountain Tribal Election Committee member Charlie Lehi reported 29 candidates for this year’s election, an election ballot record.
“Usually we see five to seven candidates, but this time we have had a lot of interest from our younger generation. It is good to see them stepping up,” he said.
Except for those running for re-election and one other candidate, the remaining 24 candidates are new to political office
“The older council members have done their job, and now the next generation is looking to do something,” Lehi said.
Current Chairman Gary Hayes is running for re-election. Council members Bradley Hight and Davis Wing are running to keep their seats, as is Elaine Cantsee for the White Mesa position.
Candidates are full-time paid positions, and all are for three-year terms.
The seven candidates for tribal chairman are as follows: Gary Hayes, Manuel Heart, Harold Cuthair, Floyd Laner Jr., Emeline Casey, Bradley Hight, and Benjamin Pavisook.
The 17 candidates for the two open Tribal Council seats are as follows: Beverly Cuthair, Marissa Box, Conrad Jacket, Shirley Deer, Fernessa Richards, Quinton Jacket, Davis Wing, Reginald Lopez, Priscilla Renpz Blackhawk, Deanne H. Wall, Regina Lopez Whiteskunk, Blair House Sr., Darwin House, Mark Wing, Renwick Jacket, Christine Lehi, and Ulysses Lang.
The five candidates for the White Mesa position are as follows:
Tonya Poyer, Malcolm Lehi, Toni Pelp, Elaine Cantsee, and Monique Wells.
Under tribal election laws, council members Manuel Heart and Harold Cuthair are running for chairman, and they automatically forfeit their council seats, Lehi said.
“We will have another election in January to fill their vacant seats on the council,” he said.
For candidates interviews to be published in the Cortez Journal, contact Jim Mimiaga by Oct. 2 at 970-564-6034.
The election will be held Oct. 10 in Towaoc. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Community Center. In White Mesa polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the recreation center.