Cheyenne and Arapaho Gov. Reggie Wassana and Lt. Gov. Gib Miles won the Nov. 2 general election by a landslide. According to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune, this marks the first time the tribes have elected a governor to two consecutive terms.
The Wassana and Miles team received about 72 percent of the vote, while their opponents, Wilma Blackbear and Roberta Hamilton, received 28 percent of the 1,887 total votes cast.
“Gib Miles and I would like to sincerely thank the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, locally and nationwide, who voted to support our vision for the next four years,” Wassana told Gaylord News. “In our first term, we overhauled our tribal government with a spirit of complete transparency, we expanded and reached new heights of prosperity, and we diversified the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal holdings to capitalize on future economic opportunities — all for our people.”
Wassana grew up north of Weatherford, in the Deer Creek Indian Community, and graduated from Weatherford High School in 1986.
He attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University before transferring to the University of Oklahoma. He returned to Southwestern to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
In 1992, Wassana began working for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes as a planner before moving to the business manager’s office. He was hired in 1996 to be the executive director of housing for the nation, and he served in that position until 2011.
Wassana later held a number of other roles at the tribe, including as a casino manager, serving on the economic development and tribal farm and ranch boards, and serving on the Southwest Oklahoma Development Authority Youth Council.
He was elected to the nation’s Legislature in 2016, representing Cheyenne District 3, and served as speaker of the Legislature for two years. He was elected governor in 2017 and is now set to serve a second term.
“All tribal members will continue to see the tribes grow and gain credibility we lost,” Wassana said. “Tribal members will have the opportunity to prosper from the resounding success which we directly attribute to the stability of our government. As the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes grow, rest assured, our dedication to our tribal citizens will never waver. We are grateful for their faith, trust, and confidence in us and we are excited and optimistic about the next four years.”
Wassana is the fourth governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. Before constitutional amendments were made in 2006, the nation was overseen by a business committee, not a governor.
Unofficial district election results
Three legislative incumbents won additional four-year terms in their runoffs.
Kendricks Sleeper (Arapaho District 2) won with 57.55 percent of the vote, while opponent Juaquin Lonelodge, received 42.45 percent.
George Woods (Cheyenne District 2) won with 54.04 percent against opponent Frances White Thunder, who received 45.96 percent of votes cast.
Byron Byrd (Cheyenne District 4) won with 56.38 percent of the vote, while opponent Delfred White Crow received 43.62 percent.
One newcomer was also elected to the Legislature. Diane Willis won Arapaho District 1 with 53.59 percent, defeating opponent Debra Woolworth, who received 46.41 percent of votes.