Voters will decide between Alan Melot, an outpatient therapist, and David Slavin, a recently retired electrician, in the Citizen Potawatomi Nation runoff election for the vacant District 1 Legislature seat.
The election is being conducted entirely by absentee ballots, with the submission deadline set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25.
In the June 26 tribal election, Melot received 101 votes (34.5 percent of votes) while Slavin received 77 votes (26.3 percent of votes). Because no candidate claimed a majority, the race moved to a runoff election.
CPN legislators are elected by tribal citizens within their district. CPN’s District 1 consists of 16 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin. CPN legislators are elected to four-year terms.
The information below regarding each candidate was gathered from publicly available sources.
Profession: Melot is a licensed psychologist with a masters degree in clinical psychology, and he currently works as an outpatient therapist, according to his website. He previously worked for 15 years as a store manager for Fastenal Company.
Experience: Melot previously served on the town council in Ritchey, Missouri. He resides in Joplin, according to Potawatomi.org.
First, Melot wants to coordinate consistent meetings with CPN tribal citizens. Melot says he “will work with [tribal citizens] and tribal headquarters to coordinate proper district meetings as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.”
Melot said he wants to increase transparency within the CPN government regarding monetary matters. He also wants keep tribal citizens better informed of tribal affairs. Melot is “committed” to helping citizens access tribal and federal resources. Melot specifically mentioned mortgaging and health care as areas that tribal citizens struggle to access resources.
On his website, Melot states that he supports a constitutional amendment to institute term limits, and he pledged not to seek more than two terms in office. In an Aug. 1 Facebook post with the phrase “Why am I a threat?” superimposed over his profile picture, Melot alleges that an advertisement he placed in the Hownikan was changed without his consent.
“I don’t know why or how I’m a threat to the administration, but it’s very obvious that they do not want me to be elected,” Melot wrote.
Profession: Recently retired, Slavin worked as the lead electrician at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for the past 27 years and served as a first responder on the hazmat team, according to the June edition of the Hownikan. Slavin previously taught electronics and robotics at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1973-1977 before being honorably discharged.
Experience: Slavin has no political experience and resides in Liberty, Missouri, according to Facebook.
Platform: From an ad posted in the July edition of the Hownikan, Slavin values “the traditions of honoring [tribal] elders, supporting and educating the younger members of the nation,” and hopes to “[help] tribal members in District 1 find information concerning health services, scholarships and other services available to tribal members.”
Slavin wrote in the May edition of the Hownikan that the “most pressing issue” to CPN citizens is the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said he hopes to lessen the CPN’s carbon footprint and “provide assisted living to elders in [and] outside of Oklahoma.”
(Correction: This story was updated at 12:46 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 25, to reflect Melot’s prior public service.)