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Candidate profile: Eugene Sommers brings youth, energy to run for tribal chair

Eugene Sommers

Boozhoo, my name is Ogema Giizhig Binesi/Eugene Sommers. I entered the race for White Earth chairman because I am concerned about the future of our reservation

My most significant concern is about the many community members I see already impacted by the various pressing challenges including historical trauma, unemployment, lack of decent housing, and widening economic and educational gap.

We have seen gradual progress in the community, but still, we are frustrated by the slow and near-to-no-development on the things we badly need, such as programs to end the opioid epidemic, homelessness, offender reentry programs, youth empowerment programs, and bridging economic gaps.

Most people might question my age and experience; like anyone else, I vouch for a more visionary, more experienced, and less divisive leadership. During my service in various positions, I have demonstrated all the qualities mentioned above.

In case you are still questioning my experience, I have worked as a member of the Mahnomen Opioid Committee, a coach at White Earth Nation Boxing Club, a treasurer of the Naytahwaush Community Council, Chairman of the White Earth Constitutional Reform Delegation, and now a Cultural Worker for the White Earth Nation, working with at risk families and preventing out of home placement of our children.

Additionally, I worked as Foster Care Worker for Indian Child Welfare (ICW), Case Manager for Juvenile Healing to Wellness court and Community Service Officer for White Earth Police Department (WEPD).

In all the positions I held, I have worked diligently and steered observable progress. These are nothing but evidence that my leadership qualities have been tested and confirmed.

Unfortunately, in this era, people are still swept away with charisma and popular impressions even when the bottom line results are questionable. Our community is facing severe challenges that populism may not offer solutions. These problematic issues require an individual that understands it from the core.

As you all know, I was born and raised on the reservation, and I have encountered all the problems that are facing this community. I have also played a key role in attempts to find solutions to the challenges. For instance, as a member of the Mahnomen Opioid Committee, I contribute my thoughts towards the development of programs aimed at easing the opioid epidemic in the community. Along with offering door to door Narcan trainings to combat overdose death.

Besides having a proven record of accomplishment for being innovative and practical, I value the wisdom of our elders. I am proud of our culture, and as I usually say, elders hold the knowledge of our past while the young people hold the keys to our future.

I will exploit the wisdom of the elders by consulting them from time to time for guidance. Nonetheless, you deserve a youthful chairperson who is self-driven, ambitious, innovative, concerned, and thorough.

This is our chance to steer White Earth forward, and I am committed to doing that.

A prosperous community has a leader with long-term goals and ambitions that are in the best interest of the people. For that matter, I intend to use our programs for the elderly, the homeless, the youth, the people in recovery, more so to bring everyone on board. With the right programs in place, the existing disparities in terms of education, housing, medication, nutrition, and employment will be eliminated in our society. I will focus on inclusivity so that everyone's opinion, concern, and need will be considered.

I hope the people will decide to elect a dedicated, diligent, honest, youthful, and thorough chairman. However, I understand the importance of involving all the constituents in leadership and decision-making. With every member on board, I am confident our communities will strengthen, and the results will be economic stability.

Shun populism and choose practical, innovative leadership. Choose the Seventh Generation.

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