Candidates offer views at KBOCC forum

L’ANSE — On Thursday night at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC), eight candidates for Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s (KBIC) Tribal Council gathered to answer questions assembled by the KBOCC’s tribal government class and student government.

Suzie Elmblad

Suzie Elmblad is a new candidate running in the Baraga District.

She said she thinks KBIC tobacco is a good business that should be grown and that the marijuana industry could lead to increased fiscal stability and employment.

She said the investment in Marquette is good, but the tribe needs to invest more in Baraga.

Elmblad has two kids in the local school systems and is a member of the booster club.

She said she supports the KBOCC and would like to see it supported financially. She is in favor of going green and thinks it should start with the tribal offices and businesses. She said she was initially in favor of the wind turbine project but changed her mind as she heard more about the proposal.

Elmblad said she has 25 percent Native American heritage, and would like to see the blood quantum changed so her daughter could join the tribe.

She said medical marijuana could be a tool in fighting the opioid epidemic and is in favor of commuting low-level marijuana offenses now that legalization in Michigan has taken effect.

Kim Klopstein

Kim Klopstein is running for the Baraga District as well.

She wants to expand the KBIC tobacco business into shipping and thinks marijuana could be a good business, too. She is against the event center being built in Marquette and preferred the tribe build the casino and hotel first.

She said there are jobs available and thinks the tribe could do a better job of hiring and training tribal members to fill tribal jobs.

She said she is supportive of KBOCC programs, but not everyone follows a college path.

Klopstein did not take a stance on wind turbines but supports recycling, alternative energy, water conservation and waste reduction programs.

She said she is in favor of medical marijuana and hemp production.

She said she wants to work together to expand the health care system, work on the drug abuse problem and reduce the number of children in foster care.

Beth Connor

Beth Connor is the third new candidate running in the Baraga District.

She wants to continue the projects the tribe is currently undertaking and is interested in pursuing other small business ideas as well, like selling concessions around the recreation area in Sand Point.

She said training and employing tribal members should be a priority, and is in favor of keeping the blood quantum the same.

She said cuts to KBOCC were a product of a budget deficit, something many programs and departments had to deal with.

She said she is against the wind turbines being built if the local area does not benefit from the energy produced.

She encouraged others to get involved in tribal work and volunteering.

Tomorrow: Profiles of the incumbent in Baraga District and the candidate for chief judge.