Cantwell to chair Senate Indian Affairs committee

TULALIP — Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is poised to take on the chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

Cantwell has been a member of the committee since her first year in the Senate in 2001. The chairmanship, as well as all Senate committee assignments, must get the official stamp of the full Senate when the new Congress convenes in January.

For Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon, the news of Cantwell’s proposed assignment is welcome.

“We are so proud of the senator,” Sheldon said. “Maria has been a supporter of ours since her legislative service in Olympia. She has continued that at the federal level.”

Stillaguamish Tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity in Arlington agreed.

“Maria has a long history of knowing the issues, what the tribes face and who the tribes are,” Yanity said. “She has the familiarity with issues such as natural resources, violence against women and many more. We will be leaning a bit more on her to stand stronger on tribal issues. It’s really good to have her in that position.”

Cantwell said she will be honored to lead the committee as its first female chairman.

“I am proud of my work with our state tribes on issues such as education, health care and the environment, including salmon restoration,” Cantwell said. “In our state, the way we work together with the tribes is very relational, but I think that can translate to work with all of the tribal nations in our country.”

Cantwell also mentioned her work to promote the sovereignty of tribal nations as well as economic growth among tribes. She has led Senate efforts to give tribal governments more flexibility to lease land and create businesses on reservations.

“The 29 federally recognized tribes in our state contribute greatly to the state’s cultural diversity, heritage and economy,” Cantwell said. “The tribes in our country are important to our states and our country. I look forward to the opportunities that being the chair of this committee provides.”

Sheldon said he shares what he believes is Cantwell’s mission as an elected official to give back to the county, the state and the country.

“I’ve served five years as chairman of the Tulalip Tribes. I couldn’t have a better job. Like Maria, I look at this as a once-in-lifetime shot to make life better in Indian Country,” Sheldon said. “We look forward to working with her on issues we will face together. She is going to be an active chair for Indian Country.”

Cantwell also serves on the Senate committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Energy and Natural Resources, Finance and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Volunteers conduct annual count of homeless population

They worked througha standard set of questions to learn why people have ended up where they are.

Former Everett councilman also sued his employer, the county

Ron Gipson says he suffered racial discrimination related to an investigation into sexual harassment.

Most Read