Lyndreth Wall was elected to a three-year term on the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council in Friday’s election.
Wall won in a landslide, attracting 187 votes, or 54% of the 343 ballots cast, according to unofficial results released by tribal officials.
DeAnne House came in second with 62 votes (18%), and was followed by Prisllena Nightstarr, with 39 votes (11%); Shelley M. Lopez, 38 votes (11%); and Marissa Box, 17 votes (5%).
Wall, 55, has a background in construction, coal mining and farming. He previously worked for the Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch.
Wall plans to “serve the Ute Mountain people and work together with my council members toward progress for the tribe,” he said in an interview with The Journal.
“The most important thing for me is the life and well-being of all tribal members, from the youngest to the oldest, and for the next generation that has not been born yet,” Wall said.
He also intends to protect the tribe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a critical time right now for communities everywhere. We need to come together to get through this health crisis safely,” he said.
Wall emphasized keeping up communication with phones, emails and online meetings in a time of less face-to-face interaction.
“Reaching out to connect and support each other is more important now that there are less gatherings,” Wall said.
He said he looks forward to exploring potential projects such as additional solar power for the tribe and industrial hemp. He has supported a new training program for commercial drivers in Towaoc.
Wall said his positive experiences in the mining, farming and construction trades will help guide efforts to promote job training.
“I want to encourage success for the people, and will keep my eyes and ears open for economic opportunities that will benefit tribal membership,” he said.
Government diplomacy and transparency are on his mind as well.
“Just saying ‘transparency’ is not enough; you have to do it also to earn the trust of the people. All of our minds working together is how you get things done and open doors for the people. We can do it. We’re running on eight cylinders, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Wall was reelected to the seat and will serve a full three-year term. He was elected in a special election in January to serve the remaining term of House, who gave up her seat to run for tribal council in October 2019. She lost to Manuel Heart.
Approximately 640 Ute Mountain tribal members are registered voters, according to Ute Mountain Ute election officials.
Voter turnout for Friday’s election was 53%, with 343 ballots cast.
“It went well, even though the voting process had to be adjusted because of the pandemic,” said Teyha Ketchum, a staffer with Weenuche Smoke Signals, the tribal newspaper.
Only two voters were allowed into the polling place at time, and masks were required. Temperatures were taken, and 6 feet of social distancing was required.
Before the pandemic, tribal members gathered in the Community Center to socialize and watch the ballots be counted. On Friday, only Ute Mountain Election Board members, security and media were allowed in the Community Center during the count.
“We got texts of the ballot count inside, and the results will be posted on social media,” said a tribal member sitting in a park outside the Community Center.