Herman Williams Jr. seeks return to Tulalip tribal board

TULALIP — A Tulalip tribal board member who resigned last year after he failed a drug test is running for one of three open slots on the tribes’ leadership team.

Herman Williams Jr. is among a dozen candidates, including current Board Chairman Mel Sheldon and board members Glen Gobin and Chuck James, who are vying for the spots.

Tribal members will vote on March 22 at the tribes’ biannual General Council Meeting. The board has seven members, each serving staggered, three-year terms. The board chairman is chosen after all seven positions are filled on election day.

Williams said his time away from the board has given him a unique perspective.

“In my first year on the council, we broke the million-dollar mark in revenue,” he said. “Now, we’re somewhere between the $300 and $400 million mark. We put a lot of folks on the business side, but today we need to focus on the social and health services side.”

Many tribal members struggle with basic financial skills such as balancing a checkbook, Williams said.

Williams said his drug test last year showed evidence of minimal marijuana use. He was not required to resign from his post, but said he chose to be held to the highest of standards in order to be a role model for tribal members.

“I just had my one-year anniversary,” he said, referring to one year clean of drug use.

Williams had served on the board for 16 years, including at least one year as board chairman.

James said the board is working more than ever to educate every tribal member in preparation for jobs beyond what’s offered in the casinos.

“We want to be self-sustaining, and that’s going to be a long-term process,” he said.

James, who was once vice president of a steel company, said his busiest years have been those that he’s served on the tribal board.

“We’re running a government and a city,” he said. “It’s somewhat overwhelming, but we’re learning how to do this. I think we are breaking ground as far as a lot of tribes are concerned.”

Board memberships are paid, full-time positions. The candidates are Williams, James, Sheldon and Gobin, as well as Brent Cleveland, Helene Contraro, ­David Fryberg Jr., Melvin Jones McClellan, Harold “JuJu” Joseph Jr., Jared Parks, Dawn Simpson and Cal Taylor.

Election season on the Tulalip Indian Reservation is colorful and filled with debate, as candidates line Marine Drive with handmade signs and advertise campaign promises. This year, voting will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. on March 22. Tribal members will also have a chance to express their opinions and concerns in public that day, during the general council meeting.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead, 1 in hospital after 3-vehicle crash on Highway 9

A concrete pumping truck and two sedans crashed Monday afternoon, closing the highway near Bickford Avenue.

Moses Malachi Brewer appears in court for sentencing Friday, March 24, 2023, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to 18 years for 2019 shooting in Everett

Moses Brewer, 23, shot four people in an Everett apartment, which left one victim paralyzed on his right side.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Health care spending continues to outpace inflation, driven by prices

Can state efforts curb 6.7% growth per year in overall health care spending?

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A buffet of budgets, a bunch of whales and a request for your miles

It’s Day 78. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
A mostly united Senate sends $71B spending plan to the House

The proposed budget passed on a 40-9 vote. It hikes spending for schools, child care and human services.

Officers were dispatched to a report of shots fired Thursday morning, March 2, 2023, at the Erwin Estates Apartment Complex in the 8200 block of 11th Dr W in Everett. (Everett Police Department)
‘Did I shoot anyone?’ Everett man charged with killing sleeping neighbor

Jeremy Jones called police to report apparent delusions about his neighbor. A day later, he fired through a wall.

Max Larson, 14, poses for a photo at Terrace Park in Arlington, Washington, on Monday, March 27, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Wrap-around service gives at-risk kids ‘a shoulder that you can lean on’

Compass Health’s WISe program saw 750 referrals last year in northwest Washington — a “significant” increase.

Jeanette Westover poses for a photo at her home in Snohomish, Washington on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Tenant: Housing Hope ignored meth contamination at Snohomish apartment

Jeanette Westover says meth contamination far exceeding state limits gave her seizures and kidney infections.

A Sounder gray whale. (Cascadia Research)
Don’t be flummoxed: Help is needed to name 5 Puget Sound gray whales

The voting poll on the Sounders, as these whales are called, is until Sunday for the grays dining in our waters.

Most Read