Five file on first day for tribal elections

PEMBROKE — Two people filed Monday as candidates for the Lumbee Tribal Council District 9 seat, which is currently held by Anita Blanks, who cannot seek re-election.

Sheila Beck, the former tribal Board of Elections chairperson, and Dewey McNeill, were among five people to file for the Lumbee Tribe’s Nov. 13 election on the first day of the filing period. Blanks, the Tribal Council speaker, is in her second term and the constitution prevents a third consecutive term.

Beck is a lifelong resident of the Saddletree community, according to information given to The Robesonian. She has two daughters and has two grandchildren. She is a member of Ten Mile Baptist Church, where she serves as the clerk and the assistant superintendent.

Beck graduated from Magnolia High School and attended Pembroke State College, Greensboro Technical College and Fayetteville Technical Community College. She is a recipient of the Ralph Ketner Award.

She is a member of the Saddletree Community Center and served on the center’s board of directors. Beck is a member of the N.C. Democratic Party Council Review Board, and is the chairman-elect of the Robeson County Rape Crisis Center board of directors.

“I have been preparing for this seat for years by making the effort to study tribal law and being actively involved in the Lumbee Tribal government for years,” Beck said in a statement. “I have volunteered in the Saddletree community for over 20 years. I am active in learning about and participating in cultural events that include learning to play stickball and planning the Saddletree Powwow. I want the best for my community’s youth and elders.

“My platform includes housing rehabilitation, enrollment overhaul, live-streaming council meetings and culture. I plan to be a bridge builder between council members and our administration. I promise to connect, engage and lead the Saddletree members as well as as all tribal members because we are all equally important.”

McNeill is also a lifelong resident of Saddletree, according to information submitted to The Robesonian. He is the 29-year-old son of Dexter McNeill and the late Lucy Hammonds, and is a member of Riverside Independent Baptist Church in Lumberton.

He is a graduate of Lumberton High School and Fayetteville Technical Community College’s funeral director program. He is employed with Revels Funeral Home, which has locations in Pembroke and Lumberton.

McNeill said he wants to help members of the Lumbee community and enrich their lives, with a focus on the youth and the elderly.

Also on Monday, Raymond Cummings filed as a candidate for tribal chairman. The position currently is held by Harvey Godwin Jr., who recently announced that he will be seeking re-election in November.

Cummings is the chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners. He did not provide The Robesonian any information.

Janet Locklear filed for the District 10 Tribal Council seat. The incumbent, Robin Locklear, is eligible for re-election.

Kendra D. Locklear filed for the Tribal Council District 4 seat held by Jonathan Locklear, who is not eligible for re-election.

Neither of those candidates provided information to The Robesonian.

The filing period for the November elections continues until Sept. 7.

Filing can be done from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each week day at the Elections Office, which is located at 707 Union Chapel Road. The cost to file for chairman is $500, and $200 for a Tribal Council seat.

For information, call the Elections Office at 910-374-6290.


Staff report