Ojibwe band elects first woman chair

  • Updated: June 16, 2012 - 5:14 PM

In a squeaker of an election Tuesday, Carri Jones, 32, became the youngest person and first woman ever voted in as chair of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

Jones, a financial officer for the band for the past three years, received 1,335 votes to beat incumbent Arthur "Archie" LaRose, who got 1,330 votes, according to the Bemidji Pioneer.

Jones said she ran because she believed her work experience and degrees in accounting and finance from Bemidji State University would help the band transcend its financial difficulties.

"I base all of my decisions on finance," Jones told the newspaper. "I think that's the backbone of a great organization. I know all of the band's financial background, so I think that's a huge step up for me."

LaRose was elected chairman in 2008 after serving six years as the band's secretary/treasurer.

In another close race, LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks III unseated incumbent Eugene "Ribs" Whitebird 919 to 889 to be elected District III Representative on the Tribal Council.

The winners are expected to be sworn in next month.

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