RED LAKE, Minn.-Forman Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd "Buck" Jourdain announced Wednesday, March 7, that he plans to run for re-election, four years after current chairman Darrell Seki Sr. ousted him.
Jourdain said that he decided to run about a year ago after observing what he sees as missteps by the current administration and talking with tribal members. Seki defeated Jourdain 1,907 to 1,284 votes in the 2014 election.
"I've been watching and observing and have just seen a steady decline in productivity with our nation," said Jourdain, who served as chairman from 2004 to 2014. "The people in general have voiced to me that they're disappointed in the leadership at Red Lake, and this started pretty quick, probably about a year and a half into the Seki administration."
Jourdain called himself an "expert" in tribal government, and said that, if elected, he would stabilize leadership. The former chairman said Red Lake's working community feels disrespected by some current high-level administrators and the current tribal executives don't have enough experience to run the band effectively.
"When you deal with tribal government and you're running a tribal nation it's a whole other level," Jourdain said. "You definitely have to have people who know what they're doing, so some of the people who were brought in as administrators and managers of the tribe didn't have that experience, and they've struggled."
Jourdain also balked at the prices of some projects undertaken by the current administration. During his annual State of the Band address, Seki touted progress made on a new affordable-housing complex in Minneapolis that would include 114 apartments. Two new fire departments-one in Red Lake and one in Ponemah-are also in the works and a new chemical dependency treatment center was announced in 2016.
Though the band received nearly $13 million in funding-in the form of a direct loan-from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be used for the treatment center, fire departments and a new dialysis center, Jourdain said that, if elected, he would re-evaluate the projects and improve transparency.
When he left office, Jourdain said, "the house was in order."
"I wanted the job," he said. "I ran last time. I lost, but I'm back."
All candidates for the seven open positions must file by Saturday, March 17. Absentee balloting begins Saturday, April 21, and the general election takes place Wednesday, May 16, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m.
If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the general election they are declared the winner. If no one gets more than half the vote, the tribe will schedule a runoff election.