Two Incumbents, Three Newcomers Tabbed for CSKT Tribal Council

Ron Trahan, an incumbent tribal council member who served as chairman in 2014, won re-election

By Dillon Tabish
Ron Trahan, former chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, speaks during a visit from Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, and Sen. Jon Tester on August 20, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council will feature three new members after this week’s election on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

General election ballots were counted Dec. 14 and absentees were tallied two days later, finalizing this year’s election for the governing body of the CSKT.

Ron Trahan, an incumbent tribal council member who has served for over 10 years and was chairman in 2014, won re-election in the St. Ignatius district over Wade Hendrickson, 727 votes to 598.

Leonard Gray, an incumbent in the Hot Springs district, held off challenger Gene Lozeau, 740 votes to 605.

Dennis L. Clairmont edged Britton W. Salois in the Pablo district, 694 to 636. Clairmont will replace council member Lloyd Irvine, who was eliminated in the October primary.

Another incumbent, James “Bing” Matt, was unseated by Troy Feisman in the Arlee district. Fiesman garnered 745 votes to Matt’s 595.

Anita L. Matt was elected in the Dixon district by receiving 906 votes. Her opponent, James Morigeau, tallied 427. Matt will replace incumbent council member Terry Pitt, who did not seek re-election.

The new council members will be sworn into office in January and vote on a new chairman, replacing sitting chairman Vernon Finley of Polson. Two years ago, the tribal council voted to have Finley and Trahan serve two-year terms between them, starting with Trahan.

The CSKT Tribal Council is comprised of 10 members who represent eight districts on the Flathead Reservation. Among the districts, Arlee and St. Ignatius have two representatives. Each member is elected to a four-year staggered term. The chairman serves as the chief executive officer of the tribe.

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