In its first meeting since the recent change of administration, the Nation’s legislature voted a new vice president into office. District 1 representative Douglas Greengrass was chosen by unanimous decision.
“They voted me in,” Greengrass said. “So I told them that I’d do it.”
Greengrass has served on the legislature 28 years, nonconsecutively, and still has another two years left in his term.
He began after the resignation of legislator Evans Littlegeorge, in the 1970s. Since that time, he has focused on giving his fellow tribal members the leadership he feels they deserve.
“I think it’s very important that we have a strong leader,” Greengrass said.
For months, the Nation has been involved in a legal battle over the right to build onto one of its casinos. Using that as an example, Greengrass stressed the importance of having good leaders who will stand up for their people. He also emphasized the need to plan ahead.
So after taking office, one of the first things that Greengrass did was talk to President Cleveland about goalsetting. During their discussion, the two threw around the idea of a retreat in which legislators would devise goals for their individual districts.
“I want to make sure that we set some goals,” Greengrass said, “within the districts and for the Nation as a whole.”
However, he said that his first order of business would be to address certain issues that have been plaguing the Nation’s legislature. One of those issues has been the attendance of its regular meetings.
“In the past,” Greengrass said, “we’ve had problems with quorum. So I want to make sure we have quorum for all our meetings.”
He suggested that the way to get it is through accountability. Therefore, he voiced his support for greater transparency among the legislature and all its members.
“I want to make sure that people get their money’s worth…and I want transparency,” Greengrass said.
He admitted that achieving his goals wouldn’t be easy, but welcomed the challenge nonetheless. He voiced confidence in the other legislators who have been voted into office.
“It’s a lot of work…but I’ve got a good (team) so that really helps,” Greengrass said.
Also voted on that day was the position of tribal secretary. Of the three candidates who ran, legislator Andrea Estebo came out victorious by a margin of one vote. She has already assumed the new role.
Other offices filled were the positions of first and second presiding officer for each legislative committee. Those chosen to be presiding officers were Kathyleen Lone Tree Whiterabbit (Administration); Robert Two Bears (Housing and Health, Social Services & Insurance); and Forrest Whiterabbit (Finance).
Greengrass was chosen to preside over the Development Committee, in addition to serving as the vice president. He expressed optimism toward working with the new administration.
“There’s a lot of things that we need to discuss,” Greengrass said. “But I think it’s going to work out well.”
Greengrass began his duties shortly after being voted into office on July 6.