New leadership sworn-in

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The latest iteration of Tulalip’s Board of Directors became official on the morning of Saturday, April 6. The regularly scheduled Board meeting began promptly with the first order of business to swear-in the two highest vote getters from March’s general council election: Glen Gobin and Theresa Sheldon.

They replace Pat Contraro, who served one term, and Mel Sheldon, who served for nearly two decades. Mel chose not to run for re-election, while election results showed Pat received the ninth highest total.

After their oaths of office, Glen and Theresa were each given an opportunity to share a few words with those in the room and the many more tuning in on

“In many ways it feels like I never left, but in other ways I feel kind of apprehensive for some reason, sitting back up here. I think it comes with the realization of all the responsibility that comes with the position,” admitted Glen. He had previously served as a Board of Director for 15+ years before taking some time off to spend with his family and enjoy the open waters, fishing. “The expectations, by all those who voted for me, are to bring positive change, bring traditional teachings back, and continue to move forward ensuring future generations have the same opportunities we have, if not more.

“I’m glad to be back to help, and look forward to being a part of this team as we work together in the best interest of the Tribe, to move us forward in a good way. Those are the teachings our elders had; it is always about the Tribe first and making sure our membership is secure. Also, I’d like to thank all those who voted for me and encouraged me step forward once more to help the Tribe,” he added.

Glen received the highest vote total during last month’s general election, surpassing all other candidates by a whopping 150 votes.

Theresa received the second highest vote total. She returns to the Board of Directors after previously missing out on a second term in 2017 by just nine votes. In her time away, she made a significant impact on Indian Country. First, she served as the Democratic National Committee’s Native American Political Director. Then she stepped down from that position to become Director of Policy and Advocacy for the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

After getting voted back on to the Board, and subsequently chosen to serve as Madam Secretary, Theresa shared, “I have to first start by expressing my gratitude and love to my babies. This General Council my son, two nephews and two nieces, plus other first-time voters, voted for me as they all voted for their very first time. Understanding I was chosen as the candidate for them, I will never take this responsibility for granted. I must now live up to their expectations.

“Protecting our right to vote, utilizing our right to vote, making sure we have easy access to voting, and voter protection is what I’ve been passionate about for years,” she continued. “I began voter engagement in 2007 and continued to work diligently for Native Vote at the county level, state level, and national level. Never would I have thought back then that my family’s babies at the time would grow up and cast their first vote for me. 

“This is a reminder to all those who doubt the power of our younger generation that they have the capacity to create historical change. I am so grateful to our young people and want them to know I hear them and I see them demanding more from all of us; in demanding their language, in demanding their songs, and in demanding their culture. To everyone who supported me,t’igʷicid! To those who did not support me, I will work hard for you, too, as I want us all to succeed.”

For decades addiction, housing, child welfare, economic development, treaty rights and sovereignty have dominated Tulalip’s political discourse. Glen and Theresa both campaigned with an emphasis on their work ethics, diverse experience, and commitment to the people.

Concluding the induction of Tulalip’s newest leaders, Chairwoman Gobin said, “Both of them have served on Council before. They bring so much valuable leadership and knowledge to our team, and I’m excited to see how much we can get accomplished with as strong a Board as we have now.”