Incumbent Joyce Deere will take on challenger Sandra Parish in the Sept. 18 Muskogee District B seat primary election for the Muscogee National Council.
First elected in 2013, Deere is seeking her third term in the seat. Parish previously served on the Muscogee National Council from 2002-2005.
The primary election will be held Sept. 18., with absentee voting underway and early voting set for Sept. 15 and 16. Because there are only two candidates in the race, the winner of the primary will take the seat with no general election.
This year’s Council elections mark the first election cycle since the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed existence of the Muscogee Reservation in July 2020, a decision with ramifications that tribal leaders are working to implement.
The Muskogee District Covers Muskogee County and includes the city of Muskogee. Each of the eight districts represented in the tribe’s National Council has an A and a B seat, which are up for grabs in alternating elections. Representatives serve four-year terms on the Council.
Below is an overview of the two candidates running for the Muskogee District B seat. All of the information below is gathered from publicly available resources and candidates are presented in alphabetical order. At the time of this post’s publication, neither candidate had recorded a video interview with Mvskoke Media.
Joyce Deere (Incumbent)
Profession: Deere serves on the Muscogee National Council representing Muskogee District Seat B.
Experience: Finishing her second term in Muskogee District Seat B, Deere was first elected in 2013. She worked at the Bureau of Indian Affairs for nearly 40 years prior to taking office.
Platform: One of Deere’s primary focuses in terms of policy is education. In 2015, she sponsored legislation to fund the New Tech Academy at Alice Robertson Junior High in Muskogee.
Deere recently voted against sending a question about press freedoms and funding to a vote of Muscogee citizens. If approved by voters on Sept. 18, the ballot question would amend the Muscogee Nation Constitution to add permanent press protections for Mvskoke Media. The Muscogee National Council voted 13-2 to put the question before voters, with Deere casting one of the two votes in opposition.
Profession: Parish is employed at Murrow Indian Children’s Home.
Experience: Parish previously served on the Muscogee Nation National Council from 2002-2005.
Platform: In a Facebook post, Parish outlines some of her main policy priorities, which include “homelessness, drug/alcohol rehab, outreach for veterans and providing CHR (Community Health Representatives) for our elders.”
Additionally, Parish believes Muscogee Nation citizens should only be able to vote for representatives in a district in which they reside. Currently, Muscogee Nation citizens can vote for all districts during elections. As such, she wants to create a ninth district for at-large citizens of the Muscogee Nation.
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