Candidates for Legislature seats offer profiles, make their views known

By Ken Luchterhand

Twelve candidates are vying for six seats on the Ho-Chunk Legislature at the upcoming Tuesday, June 6, General Election.
Each of the candidates were offered the ability to provide the Hocak Worak with a profile information, which included their names, city of residence, education, plus three questions relative to their service to the Nation.
Of the 12 candidates, eight responded with a profile and answers to the Hocak Worak.
The questions posed were:
1. Why are you running for office?
2. What would you like to accomplish in four years?
3. What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?

The responding candidates provided the following information:

District 1, Seat 1
Willette A. Greengrass: No response provided.
Karena Thundercloud
Candidate for District 1, Seat 1
Currently residing in Black River Falls, WI
1979 graduate of Black River Falls High School
Associate of Applied Science Degree – Western Wisconsin Technical College
Bachelor of Applied Studies – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Why are you running for office?
I’ve worked 31 years for the Nation, always for the Executive Branch.  During this time I’ve managed to get my Bachelor’s degree in Applied Studies.  Since I started my College studies, it was always my goal to someday be a Legislator, where I could use my education to write Legislation that will strengthen the Sovereignty of the Nation, to write Legislation that would provide support to the Executive Branch, which is responsible for working for the betterment of the general welfare of the Ho-Chunk people, and to write Legislation that would impact the survival of our existence as a people, not because I feel I owe the Nation for funding my education, but because I truly want a better nation for my Grandchildren and future generations.  The future of the next generation is all of our generation’s responsibility.

What would you like to accomplish in four years?
Review the current laws and see where which laws need new or additional legislation is necessary to strengthen our Sovereignty.  I’d like to look at the internal structure of the Legislative Branch to develop a structure that will aid in the continual growth and development of Nation.  All Branches of the Government need to function at an optimal level in order for the Nation to grow.

What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
My top priority will be to write Legislation that will enhance the Nation’s ability to grow financially, and write Legislation that will set priorities on how we allocate our funds so our Government can continue to provide a strong economy for our people.

District 1, Seat 3
Cari A. Fay
Merrillan, WI
Attended UW-Milwaukee- Computer Engineering, then a year later I joined the USMC.  After returning home, I became a Milwaukee Police Officer ,(10 years), then moved to Black River Falls area, and began working for the HCN as a Personnel Investigator (9+ years), Community Health Office Manager, Certified Mediator (12+ years) and currently the Contract Health Assistant Administrator, thus demonstrating my consistent role of being a public servant for our Nation.
During this time, I decided to attend  WI Technical College while working. Then took a break from school to place my family & work as priority.

Why are you running for office?
My ancestors hard work and perseverance are my motivation that we need to reaffirm our Culture & Traditional values, by being humble and treat everyone with love and kindness. Then, see how we are measuring up to the Legacy of our ancestors and the promise of our future generations. Your Voice is My Voice, #D1UnitedVoices

What would you like to accomplish in four years?
I'm aware of the District 1 & Nation's concerns through consistently being involved in D1 area meetings and aware of Community happenings.
In the next four years, I would accomplish the saving & gaining of funds through Insurance revisions, Renewable Energy, Organic Agriculture, and other innovative HCN businesses that will move us toward being self-sustaining. The gained revenue will be spent where it is needed, thus bringing us closer to "True Sovereignty".
Enhancing  Veteran's benefits by proactively addressing challenges they face when   returning home and to their jobs. They've placed their lives on the line and we should take actions that show our gratitude.
Begin an Elder Transportation Program, Assisted Living and General Welfare Exclusion Act research, so Elders per-capita be an actual benefit.
I'm dedicated to enhancing family based youth programs to prevent drug/alcohol abuse, by empowering youth & adults with knowledge of the effects on families, informing them this type of abuse wasn't a foundation of our Cultural or Traditional values. Also, provide knowledge of Economic Stability, value of Education and Confidence to Succeed.

What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
We can be a stronger nation through Legislature transparency, accountability to follow practices and implementing proactive revisions to the Legislative Organizational. Furthermore, execute actions to fully utilize our inherent "Sovereignty" through cooperatively working with the Executive Branch to have departments gain Self-Governance status and enact taxes codes in order to increase revenue.
Hinu (Helgesen) Smith
Wiic Mani Wiga
Cee hiikikikarac waauje.
Dells Dam, Neillsville
University Eau Claire 2014-2016, University of Marshfield 2013

Why are you running for office?
I believe I have the ability to assist our Nation with addressing critical issues while remaining connected to and honoring our traditions, cultures and teachings.  In doing so, I will represent our People proudly.  After years of working for our Nation and raising my children within our community, I would like to offer my experience and insight to the continued growth of our Nation.
What would you like to accomplish in four years?
I intend to carry on the important work of those before me while continuing to pave the way for future generations.  Moving forward, I will work to clearly define and/or revise existing codes and laws, while creating new ones that protect the health and safety of our people, communities and environment. I will work to minimize disparities in healthcare, education and socioeconomics by creating/revising legislation that promotes healing, recovery and healthy lifestyles; are more supportive of nontraditional students in post-secondary education and students with high/special needs in grades pre-K through 12; and, creates more homeownership opportunities and optimal retirement benefits.  Additionally, I will work to create an environment that our future generations will be successful in and proud of. 
What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
My top priorities are protecting the health and safety of our people, communities and environment.  Not only is it important to take significant action to combat the drug epidemic, it is also imperative to address critical issues in our children’s school systems.  Children with high needs or special needs are more likely to be pushed out of school, fall through the cracks, and become a product of the “school to prison pipeline” making them more vulnerable to self destructive behaviors. Failure to graduate, incarceration and drug use are preventable. 
Interestingly, for the first time in history, life expectancy in America is decreasing.  Decreasing!  Lifestyle and environmental factors are the culprits.  We must create legislation  that improves our outcomes and protects our environment. 

District 2, Seat 2
Roberta M. Decorah
Tomah, WI
Why are you running for office?
I am running for office because I believe our codes and laws need to be changed to help the Ho-Chunk Nation operate in the best interest of our tribal members. The legislature needs to collectively work together to amend codes and laws to provide better programs and services to tribal members. Our tribal communities need to be safer.
What would you like to accomplish in four years?
This year we have seen the effects of drug abuse within our communities. A lot of concerned tribal members have begun working together to make their communities safer and to offer help to those suffering from drug abuse. I firmly believe that we need to set aside funding for our Kijire Nagu village concept. The benefits that people will experience goes beyond a dollar amount. It will give people tools to regain control over their life.

I’d also like to research how we can fund an Assisted Living Facility for elders. An assisted living facility can benefit tribal elders from all communities. Additionally, our health care industry needs to be expanding our health care facilities as a sustainable business venture. I’d fully support creating more economical opportunities for our health care facilities.

Redistricting will be taking place during the next four years and it is important for each tribal member regardless of their residency to have equal representation.  With each thoughtful consideration for this issue, I would encourage each tribal member to acknowledge to their elected official their desires.  This will be a priority for each representation for all tribal members.

What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
Our current tribal members are dealing with substance abuse issues and this needs to be addressed by both the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch of Government.

If elected, I will work collaboratively to amend codes and ordinances to enable tribal elders and tribal members with physical limitations to have access to better services by being able to navigate through tribal Health and Social Service entities.

The Department of Agriculture needs to be created by Executive and Legislative Branches work collaboratively together to enable our healthy living efforts to continue and endorsing organic and community gardening projects for healthier foods for our communities


Kristin K. White Eagle
Baraboo, WI
Computer Programming Certificate, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA
Associate of Arts & Science, UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, Baraboo, WI
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, WI (graduated with Academic Distinction)
Dale Carnegie - Program Graduate
Casino Executive Management - Program Graduate, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania (Global MBA Ranking 2017 = #3)
Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) Candidate
HCN Mediator

Why are you running for office?
I truly want to improve our programs and services through effective policies and make a difference for all. A focus on sustainability and the future is necessary.
Also, as a current Sauk County Supervisor, representing Ho-Chunk Village, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells and the House of Wellness, I see this as the perfect opportunity to expand our Nation’s outreach and increase its influence in Wisconsin. I know my position could prove invaluable as a Legislator.
Finally, we are at a critical and volatile time in our Nation as we fight to maintain sovereignty; this is pertinent across all of Indian country. Although the challenge to make change is overwhelming, we must continue internal efforts to grow our Nation into a strong and influential body in Wisconsin. I want to be part of that growth - I have the energy, passion, experiences and aptitude to gain momentum and strengthen our tribal communities.

What would you like to accomplish in four years?
Our Nation will have an action plan that addresses the housing dilemma. Every tribal member (notably focusing on our elders, the disabled, veterans, yet including all) will have access to affordable and adequate housing while limiting the threat of losing a home, of homelessness, or of living in substandard conditions.
No one should sacrifice basic needs in exchange for adequate healthcare.
Through increased community outreach within our programs, our youth are not only financially secure with their trust fund investments and are financially literate, which is occurring now, but are also educated in all aspects of college funding and program opportunities available to them. This can be completed by their junior year to include having a personalized education plan with goals that are given specialized attention by an assigned mentor.
Additionally, pride within our communities is increased. This is done by expanding cultural events and involvement, increasing the use of our Hocak language and those resources, and instituting neighborhood watches and groups. Notably, through multiple efforts and collaboration, our mental health satisfaction levels will be vastly improved, strengthening our tribe.

What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
Policies that properly funds and supports our social/human services programs. Mental health issues are prevalent and lead to drug and alcohol abuse, broken families, unemployment, infringes on a skilled work force, reduces cultural participation, increases crime, and deteriorates a community. Improving our mental health strengthens us in ALL AREAS.
Create a Legislative strategic plan that addresses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Promote collaboration and increase tribal member involvement.

District 2, Seat 3
Carly Lincoln ~Naaružokiiga
Madison, WI
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Criminalistics

Why are you running for office? 
A sense of duty is compelling me to run for office.  I have benefited from the tribe for educational support, down payment assistance for my very first home and support with ailing family and more.  Everyone before me had to work and struggle for the Nation to reach that point; now it’s my turn to pay it back by working for the Nation so we can continue to help our members.

What would you like to accomplish in four years?
There are many things I hope to accomplish, and all of my goals stem from the question: what does the future of Ho-Chunk look like?  I hope to address items that have been placed on the back-burner or not dealt with at all. I would like the Nation to take the lead when it comes to handling drug and mental health issues, criminal codes, overall government efficiency, and I hope to diversify our ventures to further our financial independence.  Above all, I hope to draw attention to our culture and tradition because that is what makes us, the Ho-chunk Nation; culture and tradition should guide us in all of our pursuits.  I want Ho-Chunk Nation to be the beacon of hope our country so desperately needs and I would like others to see that a government-people symbiotic relationship is possible.

What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
My top priority is to streamline our processes so that there are a clear understanding and pathway to our missions.   One of my ambitions is to diversify interests and ventures to ensure economic stability and growth.  To accomplish that goal, we must establish clear action plans and timelines to make the goals attainable and our gains measurable.  These plans and timelines will structure us as we move forward in the next four years and for those that follow in the years after.

Winona Mann                                                                                         
 Flandreau Indian High School 1977
 University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
 Upper Iowa University
 Associate of Arts 2012
 Bachelor of Science 2014- Finance
HCN Legislator District 2, Seat 3

Why are you running for office?
 I have benefited from many of our tribal services and federal programs. Proudly, I worked in Ho-Chunk Gaming Table Games for more than 20 years. I currently serve the Ho-Chunk Nation as Gaming Commissioner since July 1, 2015. Our Ho-Chunk Nation has progressed tremendously. We have advanced in several ways, and we can pay tribute to all of the incumbents and the great leaders of our past. While looking to the future of our government and the advancement of our businesses we need strong, informed leaders. Leaders that will protect our lands, businesses and rights of every Ho-Chunk Nation member. I would like to share my experience and education by giving back to District 2 of the Great Ho-Chunk Nation.
 What would you like to accomplish in four years?
 In a four year term, I would like to have:
Provided substantial political equality by redistricting the legislative districts.
Provided effective constituent service including responses to requests for information, more District 2 projects, interests and accountability for expenditures.
Balance the power of legislative and the executive branch.
Provide information on agendas and proceedings and outreach efforts with the use of technology.

What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
While there is evidence that our Nation is currently using initiative, creativity, and our cultural traditions to improve our economic condition, there is work to be done.  We need to focus on our economic future by addressing unemployment (training and put our people to work) and by making investments in health, education, homeownership and substance abuse. Without these investments, the challenges for our future generations will be significantly greater.

District 5, Seat 1
Joe Brown Thunder
Falcon Heights MN

Why are you running for office?
It is inherent in us to give back as Ho-chunk. I will leverage my experience and knowledge to move the Nation forward using my experience and resources. With the assistance and help of the Ho-chunk legislature and President, I would like us to create a 25-year comprehensive plan to use as a guiding document to assist us in planning for the future of our Nation and making strategic decisions in the present.

What would you like to accomplish in four years?
If elected, I would like to focus on the following:
Health and Well-Being – We need to focus on the health of our membership by possibly becoming a Blue Zone community, where we would focus on optimizing our longevity and wellbeing. Blue zones employ evidence-based ways to help people live longer and better lives through a systematic and environmental approach to health and wellbeing. Blue zones focus on optimizing policy and social networks, and creating healthy environments. We are seeing more states and cities choosing this approach to improve the health and quality of life for their communities. I would like us to define our own approach with the same healthy results.
Business - Outside of gaming, our other business assets have not performed as well. I would like to use my industry knowledge and business acumen to assess our current business ventures and identify other industries that will suit the Nation well.
Culture - Language, songs, and culture make us Ho-chunk. I would like to leverage technology to facilitate the learning and retention of these gifts we have been given. 

What is your top priority to improve upon or create new legislation?
A review of the older ordinances is needed to ensure they are still current to our needs as a government, and if not, we need to make the necessary changes to bring them current. I would like to create ordinances and laws that will help our business units perform better and provide the tools needed to be successful. I believe we are a forward-looking Nation. Together, we can create a 25-year comprehensive plan to not only be more self-sufficient, but to secure our future and ensure that we keep prospering as a Nation. I humbly ask for your vote on June 6.
Kathyleen V. Lone Tree – Whiterabbit: No response provided

District 5, Seat 4
Matt Mullen: No response provided
Patrick C. Red Eagle: No response provided