Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 21, 2012

UKB’s Worley running for re-election

TAHLEQUAH — Ella Mae (Cooksey) Worley is seeking re-election to the office of treasurer for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.

“I look forward to representing the Keetoowah Cherokee people for another four years, as I lead reform for financial accountability and transparency in the UKB government, as well as its business enterprises,” said Worley.

Worley’s goals include the proposal of legislation that ensures financial accountability and transparency, and legislation for elected official compensation. According to Worley, such legislation will include no bonuses and no annual increases during the term of any elected official.

“Our people expect our financial records to be open,” she said. “Under legislation for transparency, we can have monthly financials posted, semi-annual elected officials finances and expenses posted, and open budget meetings for tribal members to participate in.”

Worley’s experience includes 10 years at Stilwell High School, eight years in Alaska, time in Arkansas and at Sequoyah High School, before retiring after 10 years at Rocky Mountain School.  She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in K-12 counseling, and a secondary social studies degree, with special interest in Indian studies. She completed summer studies at Yale University and holds a principal’s certificate.

“Our Keetoowah Cherokee people can rest assured I will always do the right thing to be a leader they can trust,” she said. “We are one of the largest tribes in the state of Oklahoma with over 14,000 members, and one of the oldest federally recognized tribes. Those who came before us and wrote our constitution knew it was important to name a treasurer so the funds of our tribe were safe and accounted for. I will continue to fight to uphold the constitution so our people will know their money is accounted for and can see where it goes.”

Worley is fluent in Cherokee, and can read and write the Keetoowah Cherokee language. She resides in the Rocky Mountain community, near Stilwell, where she was raised with four brothers and a sister by her mother, Katie Cooksey “Gedi.”

“Gedi” was known as the “Grandmother of Rocky Mountain,” as she cared for children who had no place to go, providing meals, clothing and a warm place to sleep.

“Doing the right thing is a part of who I am,” said Worley.

“As a lifelong educator, with 29 years of experience, I’ve instilled in my students to always do the right thing, to do their very best, and achieve their goals. As the treasurer for the Keetoowah Cherokee people, I have lived by my own advice to do the right thing and do my very best, no matter what obstacles are thrown my way.”

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