Lawrence “Woody” Widmark is one of three candidates running for Tribal Council Chairman this year. Widmark was the Tribal Chairman for 20 years previously. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)

Lawrence “Woody” Widmark is one of three candidates running for Tribal Council Chairman, along with Michael Baines and KathyHope Erickson. Widmark was the Tribal Chairman for 20 years previously. All Tribal Council Candidates have been offered this opportunity to prepare a statement.

Downloadable audio.

My name is Woody Widmark. I’m running for Tribal Chair this year.

I’ve been encouraged to put my name in the hat. I previously was the Tribal Chair for 20 years. I took three years off and reluctantly…gotta learn how to I guess say the word “No.” I’m having, not necessarily second thought, but I’m being encouraged to run again. Just taking that step to put my name in the hat and taking on some challenges that I used to do.

I’m trying to partner up with the community of Sitka, working with SEARHC as a partner, enhancing our relationship with the city through our MOU, working with the Forest Service, the National Park Service, and using other Native organizations that I’ve participated with through the National Congress of American Indians that I just went to in Phoenix. And working with our legislators back in D.C. on the tribe’s priorities statewide or legislative-wise. 

Basically, what our constitution says is we have to look out for our tribal citizens health and safety-wise. That’s a big challenge. And it’s a big sacrifice. I know that Tuesday is Election Day and not just for the tribe. It’s a big day. I’m encouraging tribal citizens to come out and vote. There will be some transportation if you cannot make it. It will be at the Community House from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

With the other candidates, I wish them good luck. I’m glad that they’re stepping up to take that initial step to run for office. Whether it’s the chairman or the council seats, it’s a big time-consuming job. And I’m encouraging that we have a lot of tribal citizens willing to step forward and take that initial step. Good luck to all. I’m hoping everyone will come out and get out the vote.