Candidate Essay: Michael Reyes

Chairperson Candidate: Michael Reyes

Boozhoo, My name is Michael Reyes and I am running for the Leech Lake Chair position.  I am the son of Mark and Jennie (Wind) Reyes.
I have lived on the Leech Lake Reservation my entire life, most of that time in Cass Lake and for a short period in Boy Lake. I have been married to my wife, Erin Reyes since 2016 and we have 5 children. We have lived in the Norway Heights neighborhood in Cass Lake since 2012.
In 2016, I ran for the chair position with one of my main motivators being the battle against the drug epidemic that plagues our communities. At that time, I was part of a team that travelled around our communities as well as surrounding communities presenting on drug education and drug prevention. The rapid drug crises has ripped apart our families and has threatened our tribe and communities.  My goal has and always will be to make sure that we as a nation are educated and prepared to fight this battle for our people

I was only on the Cass Lake Fire Department for 3 years when I previously ran for Chair. During this time, I had 15 years of experience working with kids in different aspects, and 10 years working in Law Enforcement. During my campaign, I was told I needed more experience and more involvement within the community.  Looking into other candidates, I had just as much or more experience as the rest of them. I have always been and always will be community-oriented whether I am running for a position or not

This time I am running I have done more to make change for our nation and people. I am elected official to the Pike Bay Board. I ran for the seat because people of Leech Lake voiced the concern of getting treated unfairly by the Law Enforcement that was employed by them. Me and others let the people decide and they voted to let the individual go. I was elected in 2022 to the Leech Lake Housing Board. Since I have been elected, we as a board have looked into home ownership more now than ever. We are trying to help build new homes for people to own. I will always push for what is best for our nation and always willing to put the work in.

My community, my nation, and my culture mean everything to me. I have volunteered my time and resources to help put together events and youth activities for many years. I am honored to run for Leech Lake Chair and if I am elected into office, I will put the needs of our nation and its members first.  I will make sound, fair decisions based on research and knowledge. I will utilize resources and reach out to past leaders and neighboring tribes to gather information in order to make the best decisions possible for Leech Lake. I will do what it takes to not only help my Nation survive, but to thrive as individual members and as a reservation as a whole.