Longtime Tribal Councilor Loses Seat

James Jackson, 43, won election Sunday to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council in a seven-way race that saw Kenneth Reels, incumbent vice chairman and veteran tribal leader, defeated.

Richard E. Sebastian was re-elected to the council, and in a subsequent election won the vice chairman’s position vacated by Reels’ departure after nearly 20 years of service on the council. He defeated Council Secretary Charlene Jones.

Individual vote tallies were not released. Tribal officials said 271 of the 481 eligible voters participated, a rate of 56 percent.

“I am humbled and honored by the trust expressed in me today by our community,” Jackson said in a statement released by the council. “I look forward to working with our tribal council in furthering our goals and protecting the sovereign rights of our tribal nation.”

Sebastian said the election is a sign of change and of good things to come.

“Our people have always asked for inclusion in our process,” he said. “They’ve wanted to express their voices and not not make decisions, but to be a part of the decision-making.”

Reels could not be reached for comment.

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