Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
President Obama & Derek Bailey
CEDAR, MICHIGAN - Derek Bailey, tribal chairman of the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, based in Peshawbestown, Michigan is exploring a run for Congress in 2012.
This story broke in the "Traverse City Record Eagle" in a column written by George Weeks. Other northern news sources are confirming the story.
Bailey, 38, is currently serving in his first term as tribal chairman of his Tribe. His term ends in May 2012 and is reportedly not seeking reelection as tribal chairman.
If he runs for Congress, Bailey would run as a Democrat in the newly reconfigured District One Congressional seat.
Because Michigan lost population in the 2010 census, the state lost one Congressional seat. The redrawing of the Congressional district lines to accommodate the loss has already been approved by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder. The newly drawn Congressional district contains eight of the twelve federally recognized American Indian tribes, based in Michigan.
Republican Tom Cole, an enrolled tribal member of the Chickasaw Tribe from Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District, is the only American Indian presenting serving in Congress. Less than ten American Indians have served in Congress during the history of the United States.
Last month, Bailey was one of three Michigan tribal leaders invited by the White House to President Obama's tour of the Johnson Controls - Saft Meadowbrook lithium-ion battery factory in Holland, Michigan.
A graduate of Grand Valley State University, with a Master's of Social Work degree, Bailey returned home to work for his Tribe as a clinical counselor prior to first being elected to the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and then as its tribal chairman.
Bailey was named to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education by President Obama last year.
Are you an American Indian running for public office? We want to hear from you.
posted September 6, 2011 12:30 pm edt
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