CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY - The officially sanctioned and recognized Seneca Party will hold its Caucus, which is akin to a primary vote, on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Gowanda VFW for the Cattaraugus Territory, and at the Allegany Indian Reservation Fire Hall for the Allegany Territory.
Voting will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Votes will be registered by machine ballot.
On Aug. 12, former Seneca Party Chair JC Seneca convened a meeting and officer party election, where nominations were made. The official Seneca Party officers selected were: Chair, Travis Jimerson; Co-Chair, Corrine Bennett Martin; Treasurer, Susanne Memmo Lindgren; and Secretary, Luana Jimerson.
At the Allegany Territory meeting on Aug. 13, members were convened by Seneca Party Chairs Odie Brant Porter and Adam Kennedy. The new officers chosen are Chair, Darlene Miller; Co-Chair, Stephen Watt; Treasurer, Pam Bowen; and Secretary, Trishelle Murphy.
The Seneca Nation will hold its election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The Seneca Nation elects a president every two years, and the president's office rotates between the Cattaraugus and Allegany territories. This year the president's office will be held by a Seneca citizen from the Cattaraugus Territory. The Seneca Nation Constitution holds that no president shall serve consecutive terms. The Seneca Nation will also elect the clerk, from the Cattaraugus Territory; treasurer from the Allegany Territory; and eight councilors; four from each territory. Councilors serve four-year staggered terms, with no term limits.
Candidates must file with the Seneca Party Chair or Party Secretary to formally register their name on the caucus ballot with the official Seneca Party ticket.
The Cattaraugus candidates who have declared to date include, for President: Richard E. Nephew, four-term Councilor and current Chair of Council; and Aaron Pierce, a businessman; for Clerk, Geraldine Huff, current Deputy Clerk and twice elected to serve as Clerk; and running for Council are Jeff Gill, current board member on the Seneca Gaming Corporation, and a former Councilor; Brad John, current Treasurer and former Councilor; John W. Williams, current executive director of the Seneca Gaming Authority; Charles Scanlan, a businessman and construction company owner; Denise Bennett, member of the Drug Prevention Task Force; Sherry Casey, a community member and activist, retired from service with a financial and investment institution; Dave Silverheels, a commissioner on the SNI Health Services Commission; and Henry "Little Man" Grule, a construction worker and community member.
The Allegany candidates that have announced their candidacy to date include, for treasurer: Robert Odawi Porter, current president; and running for council are Diane Kennedy, current clerk; Drew Rozler, Cattaraugus County Deputy Sheriff; and Trishelle Murphy, a longtime community volunteer with an 18-year record of service with the SNI government.