Chad Smith, who served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation for 12 years, announced during a press conference Monday in Tulsa that he’ll be trying to reclaim that job during the June 2015 election cycle.
“Every time I am at Walmart or Lowe’s or a ballgame, someone will say, ‘We miss you in office,’ or ‘Things ran better when you were there,’ or ‘We are barely hanging on, will you come back?” Smith said.
Smith said he believes a number of people are dissatisfied with the current administration.
“These days, I am hearing, ‘A lot of us are mad about all of the mess. There are too many political favors and under-the-table deals,” Smith said.
Smith alleges the current administration has paid millions of dollars for what he calls “a run-down golf course.” He also says the Cherokee Nation has bought land at inflated prices and has offered government contracts to out-of-state campaign consultants.
Smith believes the long-term impact of issues like Baby Veronica, the Sequoyah High football team and the UKB Casino are being ignored.
“I believe that in the heart of every Cherokee, we want to live up to expectations of our parents, provide what’s best for our children and make our Cherokee Nation a little better place to live,” Smith said. “Not everyone agreed with me on all the issues, but I made decisions based on the long-term consequences to our nation and children, not political choices.”
Smith said thousands of Cherokees have believed in him through the years and in the last election, and continued to share his administration’s optimistic vision for the nation.
“When I remember the dedication of elders who have passed on and see the wonder in our children’s eyes, I know the fight for our Cherokee Nation is worth it,” he said. “Together, we will restore the dignity of the Cherokee Nation and improve the quality of life for all Cherokees.”