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Opinion | Politics
Audrey Bennett: Re-elect Sen. Norm Coleman


"I have been an advocate for tribal issues for over two decades. I have had the privilege of serving as the president of my tribe, the Prairie Island Indian Community, and have also worked on the national level serving as an officer with the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Gaming Association. As my fellow tribal leaders will tell you, one of the most important responsibilities that a tribal leader has in working with the Congress of the United States is, sadly, educating them about tribal sovereignty, the role of tribal governments and the numerous issues that tribal leaders and tribal members face on a daily basis.

This was not the case with Norm Coleman.

When Sen. Coleman took office in January of 2003, he walked in the door with an understanding of, and support for, tribal issues and his support for tribal issues during his term as a senator from Minnesota has been unwavering. The Prairie Island Indian Community has worked closely with him on a number of issues and he has always come through for our community.

Our reservation is located 600 yards from a nuclear power plant. The proximity to the power plant and the nuclear waste poses a potential threat to our community. Homeland security is a great concern to us, as it is for numerous tribes across the country. Yet, we faced years of frustration in not being able to obtain federal assistance for dealing with this threat because tribes were forced to go through their states in order to receive any assistance. As a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Coleman worked closely with committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) so that for the first time tribal governments can receive homeland security grants directly from the federal government. Prairie Island was recently one of the first tribes to receive a homeland security grant."

Get the Story:
Audrey Bennett: Why Minnesota tribes should support Sen. Norm Coleman (Indian Country Today 10/28)

Related Stories:
Sen. Coleman: Proud of record on Indian issues (10/23)
Editorial: Republicans absent in Indian Country (10/20)
Al Franken campaigns on three reservations (10/20)