Plans for a Meskwaki tribal election this fall aren’t sitting well with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. One of the groups that claims to be running the tribe says it’s calling for a recall election October 21st with a special election to follow for any council members recalled. Grassley says it’s not the best solution.Grassley says “This is not an entirely satisfactory response…but it’s maybe a response we’re going to have to live with.” His complaint is that the election isn’t scheduled until late in October while some 13-hundred people were put out of work when the Tama casino closed in May. Grassley wanted a resolution that was more prompt. Grassley says he’ll again appeal to the American Indian Gaming Commission, a federal organization, to reopen the casino in light of a possible resolution to the long-running dispute.Iowa’s other U-S Senator, Tom Harkin, agrees with his GOP counterpart. Visiting the home state during the congressional summer recess, the Democratic senator today said he’d also like to see tribal elections in Tama scheduled earlier than late October. The sooner the better, Harkin says, pointing out there aren’t a gerat number of potential voters who’d have to prepare for the vote, and 1300 people are currently out of work. The MeskwakiCasino in Tama was closed by federal regulators after the two factions battling for control of tribal leadership couldn’t agree on which has final authority. Harkin says some of the workers have house mortgages and kids going back to school, and he wants to “get this done” so they can get back to work, perhaps with an election in the early part of September since only a thousand or so people would be voting anyway. After a recent call by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to hold a sanctioned tribal election, a tentative date was announced this week for ten weeks from now.
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