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Two tie in vote for Eastern Pequot chairman, setting stage for runoff election

North Stonington — Saturday’s Eastern Pequot Tribal Council elections resulted in a tie between two of the three candidates running for chairman, setting up a runoff election in September. 

Mitchel Ray, the incumbent council treasurer, and Derrick Strong, president of the nonprofit Eastern Pequot Wuttooantum Foundation, will compete in the runoff election. Brenda Geer, the third candidate and the council’s incumbent vice chairwoman, will remain vice chairwoman.

Ray may remain as treasurer if Strong wins the runoff election. Geer will serve as acting chairwoman until the runoff election takes place.

Katherine Sebastian Dring, who served two three-year terms as council chairwoman, did not seek reelection. Her term ended Sunday when the election results were announced at a private tribal event.

Also elected Saturday were Tyrone Gambrell, an incumbent councilor elected comptroller, and JoAnne Silva Njoku, the incumbent corresponding secretary, both of whom were unopposed. Elected from among four candidates for three other council seats were Lawrence Wilson, Jamus Eccleston and Kiana Scruggs.

Other incumbent council members are Lynn Powers, recording secretary; Larry Pemberton; Valerie Gambrell; Natasha Gambrell; and La'Tasha Maddox.

At Sunday’s event, the tribe acknowledged the presence of tribal elders, including 97-year-old Norma Parrish, and 95-year-old Roy Sebastian, Chief Hockeo, the tribe’s sachem for life, who was unable to attend.

The tribe also recognized state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, a supporter of the tribe, and Wendy Black Nasta, executive director of Connecticut-based Artists for World Peace, whose charitable programs include free eye clinics for Native Americans.


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