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Cherokee Nation Swears In Acting Chief

TAHLEQUAH, Okla., Aug. 15 (UPI) — The Cherokee Nation has sworn in an acting principal chief, who will hold the post until a winner is declared in the chief’s race, officials said.

S. Joe Crittenden of Stilwell was sworn in Sunday as deputy chief and will act as temporary principal chief until a winner is declared in the principal chief’s race between former principal Chief Chad Smith and Tribal Council member Bill John Baker, the Tulsa (Okla.) World reported.

Results from the June 25 general election were invalidated by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court after multiple recounts, court hearings and claims of irregularities from both sides, the World said.

A new election is scheduled for Sept. 24.

“We’re all looking forward to the election on Sept. 24,” Crittenden said. “I hope a winner is clearly named. The Cherokee people want and deserve closure to this election cycle.”

During his brief tenure as principle chief, Crittenden said he hoped to increase funding for care of the elderly, salaries for medical workers at the tribe’s clinics and scholarship funds for students preparing for medical careers. He also said the tribe, which has a $579 million budget, must resume building houses.

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