Claremore Daily Progress

May 12, 2013

Meredith Frailey seeking District 15 Cherokee Nation council seat

Claremore Progress


Meredith Frailey, Cherokee Nation Tribal councilor for District 6,  has announced she will seek the District 15 seat.
Frailey is currently serving her second term on the Council of the Cherokee Nation for District 6 – Mayes (Mayes County). She has during her first term she was elected as the first Speaker of the Council and was again re-elected during her current term. As Speaker, she is third in line of succession to head the Cherokee Nation government.
“As an experienced legislator, I appreciate the challenge and debate involved in drafting and approving good legislation that improves the self-reliance and quality of life for all Cherokee citizens. However, my biggest joy is personally helping fellow Cherokee citizens,” Frailey said.
“Today, critical issues face the Cherokee nation, such as sequestration, citizen, land in trust, political threats to our sovereignty, water rights, financial oversight, the weak economy, anti-Indian groups and potential losses of federal funds to the State of Oklahoma for social services. With these threats looming over the Cherokee Nation, experience and understanding of our government and Cherokee culture courts now more than ever.”
Her vision for the Cherokee Nation is a self-sufficient, focused network of programs and business enterprises that help create economic independence for the Cherokee people, and that provide an inheritance for future generations.  Frailey sees the greatest priorities for District 15 include:
•Protect Sovereignty
“One of the greatest responsibilities I have as a tribal council member is to vote on legislation that helps our citizens and protects and strengthens our sovereignty.  Cherokee leadership must be ever vigilant in protecting our historic and enduring legacy of sovereign rights with every decision made.” she said. “Our sovereignty is being challenged everyday and we must never
give up our right of self-governance and self-determination. That is one of the major reasons I decided to seek re-election because experience counts now more than ever.”
•Growth of Our Nation
Frailey said “I appreciate the honor of being part of a dedicated and dynamic team that worked together over the last decade to grow our assets from $334  million to $1.2 billion, our health care services from $48 million to $225 million, created 6,000 jobs and saw an outstanding historic resurgence in education, language and cultural preservation. That growth must continue for our citizens and our government. That’s why experience counts now more than ever.”
•Health Care
“With our ever-growing Cherokee population, health care must be expanded in Mayes and Rogers Counties. I will fight for more budgeted funds for mental/behavioral health. We have a substance abuse epidemic in our communities and funding for the preventive project in Mayes county which covered an anti-meth task force and provided additional funding for Indian Child Welfare in Mayes and Rogers Counties was eliminated in FY 2013 by the current administration. We can no longer ignore this problem.  A powerful program for young women which would improve the lives of our young girls is Girl Power. It teaches about healthy relationships. The goal of the program is for girls to be happy, healthy, self-sufficient young Cherokee women who contribute to our community. By working together with our communities, we can help end the tragic devastation of families that are consequently  ruining the lives of many Cherokee children.
•More Doctors and Nurses
“We need to retain and recruit more doctors and nurses. The Salina Clinic is short providers, nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors. There are not enough hours in the day for our doctors to see as many patients and spend the time desired with their patients. During my term in office, I persisted in adding the dental clinic at Salina and am proud of their work.  An inexperienced legislator will have difficulty understanding this great need because they will spend most of their time learning and understanding their role as a legislator. That is why experience counts now more than ever,”  Frailey said.
•Education for Our Future 
“Provide more education scholarships for Cherokee students and more funding for Vocational Education and Specialized Training initiatives for businesses and health careers.Our children are our  future and they need a good education to maintain, lead and continually build and protect the Cherokee Nation sovereignty and our businesses in the future. Education has always been a priority to our Cherokee people,” Failey said.
• Jobs
“A most important job legislators have is drafting legislation that will help increase job opportunities for our citizens. Creation of jobs is one of the most important services we can provide our citizens. I was very proud to have sponsored and help craft the Jobs Growth Act in 2007 which had the objective of not only creating more jobs but also insulating our business entities from governmental politics. As a result of the law and the planning of our former astute businessmen and women on our business board, our businesses have grown, diversified and provided over 6,000 jobs. We bought a building in Mid-America Industrial Park a couple of years ago to help  create job opportunities in other areas of the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction and not just in Tahlequah. We won a value-added contract with Wal-Mart which is housed in the Mid-America building but it was voted by the current business board to move the contract to Tahlequah to fill a building recently
purchased there. Wal-Mart wants to expand the program due to the great work of the employees in Mayes County but its removal to Tahlequah will reduce jobs in District 15. All areas of the Cherokee Nation need jobs, not just Tahlequah. That is why experience counts now more than ever,” Frailey said.
•TERO Businesses
“Along with creating jobs, I will support Cherokee TERO businesses. Our TERO laws must ensure the Cherokee people receive their rightful share of employment and other economic opportunities through hiring and contracting. We must continually update our TERO ordinance to provide greater employee protections. Sanctions need to be strengthened and enforced. That is why experience counts now more than ever.
A life-long resident of Locust Grove, Frailey is the daughter of Susie Swimmer, and has one son, Brandon, and two grandchildren, Jaysie and Sidney Frailey.
Upon graduation from Locust Grove High School, she attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. She also attended the University of Tulsa Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree.
Her business experience spans manufacturing, energy, oil and gas, banking, business services, education, women’s athletic coach and non-profit industries. She has held positions as a Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director of YMCA, marketing director, women’s athletic coach, and has served on local, state and federal boards and task forces. She has also served as the vestry chairperson for the Episcopal Church and as a Judge of the Ecclesiastical Court. Meredith also has a pilot’s license and enjoys flying.