Mon, Jan. 20

Yavapai-Apache candidates square off

Sitting Chairman Vincent Randall hopes to win his third chairmanship with the Yavapai-Apache Nation's Tribal Council Saturday.

Randall faces off in the run-off election Sept. 15 against Aaron Russell. The two were the top vote-getters in the Nation's recent primary election.

The former teacher and coach for the Clarkdale-Jerome School has an extensive political background with the Middle Verde Reservation, having been the youngest chairman elected at the age of 25 in 1964.

He was a board member for the Association on American Indian Affairs from 1972-92, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children from 1969-74. He was re-elected as chairman in 1998.

Randall has a bachelor's degree in education and has completed over 60 hours of graduate work, also in education. Understanding his background may help explain Randall's goals to further develop and enhance educational opportunities for all tribal members.

During his campaign, Randall said that he makes no promises to anyone, explaining "I stand on my integrity and honesty," suggesting that those virtues have gained voter confidence in the past. His top priorities, if re-elected, are increasing economic development within the tribal community and addressing budget constraints due to recent growth.

Randall is proud of accomplishments he believes he and Vice-Chairman Fred Sanchez have achieved during their leadership. Their accomplishments include:

* Increased the Nation's land base by approximately 5,000 acres to a total area of approximately 6,000 acres, allowing for room to grow and to accommodate tribal members.

* Began a sand-and-rock operation, providing steady revenue for the nation for the next 10 years while helping reclaim some of the land for farming and other uses such as housing.

* Applied to the federal government to convert approximately 1,150 acres of fee land into trust status, a move that, if approved, will guarantee the land will be forever a part of the reservation.

* Allowed casino operations to expand into a consulting business under the name Yavapai-Apache gaming, a venture that not only helps other tribes open their own casinos, but provides the Nation with significant revenue through fees and profit sharing.

* Started the Yavapai-Apache Construction, a business venture allowing the nation to benefit from stable and growing construction needs in Northern Arizona, and a strong revenue stream for the nation.

Randall says that he is dedicated to maintaining tribal stability and completing the positive efforts started during his and Sanchez' administration. Issues include:

* Operating under a budget that relies heavily on casino revenue and working with the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, an organization of tribes throughout Arizona, to fight for the Nation's right to operate the casino as negotiated with the state.

* Being mindful of the security of the Nation by finding ways to diversify the Nation's sources of revenue in order to survive market changes.

* Being creative in making all services available for a larger number of tribal memebers with a tight budget and monitoring the operating budgets of those various services including police and fire departments, social programs, scholarships, and the health clinic.

Randall is married to Erie Randall with whom he has two young children. He is a resident of Clarkdale.

Tribal members can cast their votes Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at the Social Service Building at the Middle Verde reservation, the W.I.A. Building at the Camp Verde reservation and the Senior Citizens Center at the Clarkdale reservation.

Polls close at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 567-1033.

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