PEMBROKE — Five candidates, including three incumbents, filed this week for the Lumbee Tribal Council election that is scheduled for Nov. 14.
Jarrod Lowery is seeking a second term representing District 5, which includes the Prospect and Oxendine communities; Frank Cooper is seeking a second term representing District 11, which includes all of Hoke County; and Douglas Locklear Jr. is seeking a second term representing District 6, which includes Raft Swamp and North Pembroke.
Michael Chavis II is seeking his first term on the council as a representative of District 12, which encompasses Scotland County, Alfordsville and Maxton, and Scott Bell also filed for District 6.
Lowery, who was raised in the Wakulla and Prospect communities, is a 2012 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a six-year veteran of the Marine Corps. He has served various roles in state government, including as field director for Gov. Pat McCrory in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
He has served as chairman of the council’s Federal Recognition Committee. He wants to continue that work.
“During this time we have made great strides building relationships and making the Lumbee case to correct the Lumbee Act of 1956 and provide full federal recognition. In this second term I hope to finish the work I began and to see the nearly 130-year struggle for recognition across the finish line,” Lowery said. “I look forward to continuing to have the opportunity to serve my community; I take it as a blessing to do so.”
No one else has filed in District 5.
Cooper joins Carl Pevia as the two candidates to file in District 11.
Cooper has a bachelor of arts degree as a double-major in American Indian studies and history from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he also earned a master’s in education.
He has worked in the restaurant business, retail management and as an entrepreneur. Since 2007 he has been a history teacher and is the advisor to Native American Student Club and a member of the School Improvement Team at Hoke High School. He has served on the board of directors for Hawkeye Indian Cultural Center in Hoke County for several years.
He said as a member of the council, he is “most proud” of initiating the Lumbee National Scholarship program and the support given the Standing Rock Sioux.
“I want to continue to ensure equal opportunity for services for all Lumbee people and look forward to serving the Lumbee Nation in the quest for federal recognition, community service, and educational equality as a tribal councilman,” he said
He and his wife, Jennifer, have six children and have lived in Hoke County for 20 years.
Chavis is a trooper with the N.C. Highway Patrol and owns an electrical contracting company. He studied electrical engineering at N.C. State University and is a member of Gray Pond Baptist Church in Scotland County.
“I am a proactive member of the church and the community, honest and hard-working,” Chavis said. “I am trying to have a positive impact on my direct community and Native American family as a whole.”
Chavis is married to Ashley A. Chavis, a first-grade teacher at Union Chapel Elementary School.
Shelley Strickland, the incumbent, filed previously for re-election in District 12.
Douglas Locklear Jr., the District 6 incumbent, did not provide information to The Robesonian.
Bell, who said he has lived in Pembroke his entire life, did. He is a member of the town’s Chamber of Commerce.
“I have ran my own business for nine years in the town of Pembroke and learned a lot over years dealing with different people,” he said. “I look forward to serving my district and helping my community. I know it’s a big responsibility … serving on the Lumbee Tribe but I’m not afraid of the challenge when it comes to being firm and standing for what’s right and when comes to helping others in business perspective.”
With the filing period ending on Thursday, eight candidates have filed.
Candidates can file for the election at the tribe’s Elections Office at 707 Union Chapel Road, Suite D, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. The office will remain open until 5 p.m. on Thursday, the last day of the filing period.