After Congressman Heck announced his decision to retire from Congress, I received calls and encouragement to run for his seat. I’m incredibly honored and humbled to be part of the conversation as a potential successor to such a great leader, and I owed it to those folks who encouraged me the respect to give the idea serious consideration. I have done so, and I have made a decision:
I’m staying home.
My mother, Gloria I-Ya-Tel Bean, raised me to always think of my elders and my community first. From her lessons, I know what my responsibility is: to take care of our family and Tribal community. For me I think the most effective way to do that is as Chairman of the Puyallup Tribal Council.
A decision to run for Congress includes not just the good work one might do; but what one would give up.
Again, my mother taught me to put my family first, which requires me to be physically present for them. Recently my young grandson asked me, “Papa, will you teach me to play basketball?” That was a message from the Creator: This is where I belong.
As a member of the Puyallup Tribal Council, I’m proud to be part of a team of strong Tribal leaders, past and present, who are committed to taking care of our community, diversifying and growing our economy that is vital to providing essential government services, protecting our treaty rights and natural resources, and revitalizing our culture. The work we do benefits not just our Tribe and Indian Country but our neighboring cities and counties and the state of Washington.
Serving as a Member of Congress would take away from these two things that I hold most dear. Serving them is my highest purpose. Thus, I officially announce that I will not be seeking to be the Congressman for Washington State’s 10th District.
Again, I’m honored and humbled to be considered as a candidate for Congress. I have high regard for the work of Congressman Heck and Congressman Derek Kilmer. It is an honor to work with them and call them my friends.
But I’m where I’m supposed to be.