Poarch election ends in record turnout

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, June 8, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Record voter turnout resulted in the reelection of two tribal council members, incumbent health administrator Buford Rolin and incumbent tribal chairman Eddie Tullis and the newly elected Arthur Mothershed.
"I am extremely pleased at the voter turnout," Tullis said. "We've been working hard for the last few years to increase participation among tribal members. We had record turnout."
Exactly 815 tribal members participated in this year's tribal election.
"I am extremely pleased at the support people have given me. I received more votes than I ever have before," Tullis said.
Tullis is very excited about the chance to continue serving the tribe.
"We're on the verge of some major improvements," Tullis said. "I take it as a recognition of the great job me and other members have done in the past and I look forward to continuing my service to this tribe."
Rolin was also pleased to be able to continue in his service to the tribe.
"First of all I am really thankful that our tribal members have the confidence to reelect me," Rolin said. "I will continue to do what I've always done; work on their behalf."
Rolin would like to improve tribal healthcare and hopes to do so largely by increasing the healthcare budget.
"In my position as health administrator of the tribe I have been appointed to many health committees in the nation," Rolin said. "I certainly want to see our health budget increase. That's certainly a challenge, not just for me but other tribes in the nation. Having worked in health for 21 years I am real concerned with health. We need to work on preventing diabetes, chronic diseases, and health promotion nationally. Those are three ideas in our own tribe that were working to address as well."
A lot of that will depend on economic development.
"I want to see economic development for the tribe," Rolin said. "We have class 2 gaming already, that's not an issue. Our goal is to build facilities here in Atmore and of course on our reservations in Elmore County and Monroe County. We need a facility here where we can have more gaming machines. That will make an impact in this county as well as the city because it will create jobs for the community."
Rolin would also like to continue to work on improving education opportunities for tribal members.
"I want members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to be able to go to any school that they'd like," Rolin said. "I'm real proud of the progress the tribe has made in that area and hopefully I'd like to continue for it to be successful."
Rolin is looking forward to the future of the tribe.
"I'm looking forward to working with the one new member and I'm sure the goals of the council are to always work in behalf of our people and I hope that will be what this council is about as well," Rolin said. "If not for the people we wouldn't have a tribe and I am looking forward to working for the people these next three years."
The new council member, Arthur Mothershed is looking forward to serving the tribe as well.
"I feel pretty good right now," Mothershed said. "I'm sure it will take me a while to get adjusted to the government side. I've been working for the tribe for a couple of years now and we need to be working on those issues (education, housing and economic development). Of course everybody knows about the gaming but we need to work on the government side too. We still have some people that would like to get into the housing program. There was a certain age bracket and we'd like that expanded. We'd like better healthcare and facilities for our elders and assisted living for our elders. We also need to get back into our culture."
Mothershed said there has perhaps been too much emphasis placed on gaming in recent years and not enough on cultural education.
"There's a huge surge for the tribe as far as gaming is concerned and we do have some economic ventures outside gaming," Mothershed said. "We need to put some effort into those for a steady flow of cash. Gaming could go away tomorrow. We don't need to look at gaming as our savior. We have several tribal members that are trying to some of the more traditional ways. They have stomp dances out at the pow wow grounds. A lot of our members don't speak the language and I'm one of those. We need to educate ourselves and our youth and let them know where we came from."
Mothershed believes by increasing cultural education and diversifying in the tribe's financial holdings there will be a bright future for the tribe.
"I look forward to working with and for our tribal members to help us all grow," Mothershed said.

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