Cluff, Pearson elected to Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council

Mashantucket – Two newcomers were elected to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council in voting among tribal members Sunday, a tribal spokeswoman said.

Latoya Cluff and Matthew Pearson both outpolled Richard E. Sebastian, the council vice chairman, who finished third in the voting, according to Lori Potter, the tribe’s director of communications. Sebastian, who has served a total of five terms over the years, was among 11 candidates who ran for the two seats up for election.

Councilor Roy Colebut-Ingram, whose term also is nearing an end, did not seek another term.

More than 200 tribal members cast ballots during the Mashantuckets' annual meeting in the tribal community center.

Following the general election, Councilor Crystal Whipple was elected vice chairwoman in a separate vote, outpolling Councilor Daniel Menihan Jr. and Cluff in a three-way contest, Potter said.

The seven-member council governs the tribe and oversees management of its gaming enterprise, chiefly Foxwoods Resort Casino. Councilors serve three-year terms.

Cluff, 35, has worked in tribal government for more than 15 years and has a management background in human resources. She holds degrees from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island and the University of New Haven. She is a niece of Kenny Reels, a former Mashantucket chairman.

Pearson, 30, also has worked in tribal government and holds a bachelor’s degree in media and communications from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He is a member of the board of directors of the Eastern Connecticut Area Health Education Center.

In addition to Whipple and Menihan, the other council members whose terms were not up for election are Rodney Butler, the chairman; Jean Swift; and Merrill “Marvin” Reels. The new council will be inaugurated in January.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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