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Manager musings: clearer elections through free press lens

Manager musings: clearer elections through free press lens

Sterling Cosper/Manager

Introducing your candidates and their stances on contemporary issues

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — This year’s tribal election is truly different.

There have been a number of laws regarding elections that have been proposed or enacted over the last two years.

Among these are bills forming a campaign finance and ethics committee, an election process review committee and allowing tribal employees to use their paid time off while taking leave to run for office.

There has been a petition introduced to lower the blood quantum requirement to run for office.

There has also been leadership turnover in the election board with several seats being refilled including the chairperson as well as the hiring of a new manager.

One change that impacts all of these is the passing of free press, which was introduced for consideration around the last primary in September 2015.

Mvskoke Media was just starting to reflect this change in our coverage by the time the general election came around in November due to further needs regarding our structure.

This year, we are excited to have the time to plan our coverage and provide it throughout all the changes leading up to the National Council Seat B race.

It has been more work than ever before but we are excited to bring you a comprehensive, challenging and unfiltered approach to introducing your candidates.

The issues pertaining to elections are joined by many others facing our officials as we move forward.

As we watch the race, it is clear that the wellbeing of the MCN Health Department is still top of mind along with our developing relationship with the new federal administration.

These two issues potentially relate as the feds continue to look at reform to health care legislation, which may make an impact on our own system.

On the state level, there may be more changes to watch for as they continue to field financial woes from one fiscal year to the next that have, and may continue to impact us.

How these government-to-government relationships continue remains to be seen but there are also many other topics just within the tribe that our leaders will address.

I will leave coverage of these to our editorial staff and want to focus on what changes they’ve implemented for this election.

The ‘Muscogee Nation News’ candidate profiles have been a staple since before I got my start by moving up through the ranks of the paper.

This year, candidates have still been allowed to include the usual demographic information like clan, tribal town, church and/or ceremonial ground.

However, our template focuses on getting a better feel for where candidates stand on issues they would potentially address upon taking office.

Taking it even further, the ‘Native News Today’ crew has done video profiles for the first time that engages them on the spot with different questions to put the candid in candidates.

After this, any candidates that face their district opponents in a runoff after the primary will be invited to participate in a video debate with them.

Those who win in the primary will still be invited to introduce themselves as representative elects.

Lastly, our news team will do an election live-stream during the Sept. 16 primary and again for the potential Nov. 4 general run-off.

If you follow us consistently, some of the coverage I mentioned is probably familiar and you may have seen a column from NNT’s own Jason Salsman that addresses voter apathy.

We sincerely hope that the free press coverage of elections gives you a better idea of how tribal officials impact your lives and that this encourages you to vote.

A story I recently completed shows how there may be even potential for them to govern more day-to-day aspects of our lives through efforts to recapture sovereignty.

You may also have seen recent pieces by Broadcast Specialist Jerrad Moore and myself about how we’re financed as a department.

Also included in our bill is language allowing us to sell political advertising and we also offer printing and graphic design services for campaign material.

This will allow candidates to share any information that they feel was missed in their profiles or to elaborate further on it.

This also helps advance our mission to become more financially independent.

For any information about our business or editorial operations during election season click here or call our main line at: 918-732-7720.

I can be reached directly at: 918-732-7697 or scosper@mvskokemedia.com.

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