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Cherokees re-elect Hicks as principal chief

Cherokee, North Carolina (AP) 9-07

Michell Hicks has been re-eleced to a second four-year term as principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Election results from Thursday show Hicks defeated challenger Patrick Lambert by just 30 votes – 1,854 to 1,824 – to represent the 13,500-member tribe.

Key issues the chief deals with include negotiating with companies interested in working in Cherokee and with government officials on gambling.

Hicks during his first term focused on improving housing conditions on the reservation.

He also sparred with Gov. Mike Easley in a failed attempt to expand gambling operations at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, which is owned by the tribe. Hicks, 42, said he plans to continue that push after a new governor is elected next year.

Vice chief Larry Blythe was also re-elected September 6, according to the tribe’s election board.

Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com

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