Prairie Island Indian Community elects new leaders

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Prairie Island Indian Community's newly elected Tribal Council will feature four women — two of them newcomers to office.

The community held the vote Friday, Nov. 3, and announced the winners Wednesday, Nov. 8.

The first-time officeholders are Nicole Lehto and Melanie Urich. In addition, three longtime leaders including the current president, Shelley Buck, won re-election.

This will be Buck's fourth term. Lu Taylor will start her ninth term. Johnny Johnson, the lone man elected, will start his 12th term.

The top five vote-getters from a wide field of candidates will serve two-year terms on the governing body of the Prairie Island Indian Community.

The official total are: Buck, 191 votes; Johnson, 189; Taylor, 167; Nicole Lehto, 141; and

Melanie Urich, 130.

The election results were certified by the Tribe's Election Board and are now final. The newly elected Tribal Council will be sworn into office on Dec. 13.

After taking office, the Tribal Council members will vote amongst themselves on the individual roles of president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and assistant secretary-treasurer for the new term.

Secretary Ed Buck and Assistant Secretary-treasurer Audrey Bennett have a month left on their current term.