By Edward F. Mouss II
M(C)CC: Mr. Speaker, thanks again for this opportunity to interview you and congratulations on becoming National Speaker. The first questions I’d like to ask are “What was/is your first order of business as National Speaker? And how have you begun to outline the legislative agenda for the Seventeenth Session of the National Council?
Speaker Alexander: Eddie, I’d like to begin by thanking you for this opportunity. As Speaker, the 1st order of business is to get the new legislative session organized and operating. Representative Cherrah Ridge is the new 2nd Speaker, and she assisted me making committee assignments. With the shrinkage of National Council membership (17) we had to reduce the National Council standing committees from four the three. We analyzed each member’s stated preference and made the committee assignments based upon that preference and where we thought each member would best contribute.
The legislative agenda evolves monthly based upon legislation presented to the National Council for action. Because of the educational levels in this body, we won’t have much down time for learning. Because the new Principal Chief and 2nd Chief are former legislators (and both former Speakers), they know our job and responsibilities. The Principal Chief & 2nd Chief have both visited my office multiple times, and there is a sense of mutual cooperation extended from each side. The Principal Chief has taken the position the administration and legislature must proceed together, and in a positive manner.
We join him in that approach.
M(C)CC: What are some of the challenges you see facing the Seventeenth Session of the National Council? And can you elaborate on what you think are some of the more important legislative issues the National Council will be addressing this year?
Speaker Alexander: The immediate challenges facing this legislature
begin with the transition. There is only one new legislator, and he is doing a great job of getting up to speed. We want to emphasize the continued professionalism of the staff, and to make the legislative office an attractive working environment. Continuing the effort of supporting the legislature with quality assistance is the goal.
From all appearances, a hotel will be a part of Phase II at the River Spirit Casino located in Tulsa. The National Council will be heavily involved in the planning and financing end of this project. Fortunately several legislators were around in 2008 during the casino construction.
Finally, the Principal Chief has started a reorganization of the administration. We plan to work with him closely on understanding any changes that might arise, and to assist that endeavor. We welcome the opportunity and look forward to any changes that might result in efficiency and streamlined operations.
M(C)CC: To help people better understand the Speaker’s role, can you give a brief explanation of the function and duties of the Speaker of the National Council?
Speaker Alexander: The National Council Speaker is the elected leader of the Council for a two year term. He begins by appointing members to NC Standing Committees. He conducts the monthly meetings of the Council and maintains decorum during these meetings. He recognizes members so that they may speak in the Council forum. The position is constitutionally mandated.
M(C)CC: Finally, I would like to end by addressing one of the most common concerns of the people. How will the National Council be broadcasting messages to the people to keep them informed? Website? Live Streaming Video? Community meetings? etc.
Speaker Alexander: All monthly regular sessions of the NC are picked up live for internet video streaming. We will also explore utilizing the tribal website to showcase individual legislators in bringing the message. All Council meetings, including the standing committee meetings are public meetings. As such, there is a wealth of information available at this level if one can travel to these regular meetings.
M(C)CC: Mvto, Speaker Alexander, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with Tribal Town Radio. Again, congratulations and best wishes on your new term as Speaker. Hvtvm. cehe ca res.
Speaker Alexander: Thank you again for the opportunity.