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Butler, 11 others running for Mashantucket tribal council

October 8, 2018

Mashantucket — Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, is seeking a sixth consecutive three-year term on the council, joining a list of 12 candidates who will vie for the three seats up for election Nov. 4.

The council, which governs the tribe and oversees management of Foxwoods Resort Casino and all other Mashantucket tribal enterprises, comprises seven members.

Butler, chairman since 2010, also is serving as Foxwoods’ interim chief executive officer.

Councilor David Menihan Jr., nearing the end of his first term, also is seeking re-election, while the third councilor whose term is ending, Treasurer Jean Swift, did not file as a candidate. She has been on the council since 2013.

Two former council members — Richard E. Sebastian and James T. Jackson — and a tribal member who ran for first selectman in Preston in 2013 are among the other candidates.

Sebastian was vice chairman of the council when he narrowly lost a re-election bid last year. Over the years, he has served a total of five terms on the council. Jackson unseated then-Vice Chairman Kenny Reels in the 2008 council election and failed to win re-election three years later.

Vincent E. Eleazer ran for first selectman in Preston in 2013, losing to incumbent Robert Congdon, who was then an 18-year incumbent.

The other council candidates are Natasha Eleazer; James A. Jones; Mustafa Sharif Patterson; Marquise Ruffin; Cherokee Spears; Mark Thornton and Timothy A. Walker.

Jones is a son of former Councilor Charlene Jones. Patterson is a son of Kenny Reels.

Adult tribal members will cast ballots at the tribe’s annual meeting Nov. 4, with the top three vote-getters winning election to the council. Following the vote, candidates for council chairman will be nominated from the floor. Those accepting nominations will be placed on ballots for a second election, which will take place immediately.

The council members whose terms are not up for election this year are Crystal Whipple, vice chairwoman; Matthew Pearson, secretary; Merrill “Marvin” Reels; and Latoya Cluff.

The council is seeking to fill three key positions, including the permanent Foxwoods CEO job left vacant by Felix Rappaport’s death in June. The other vacancies are the chief of staff for tribal government and director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.

The Mashantuckets still hope to develop an East Windsor casino in partnership with the Mohegan Tribe.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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