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Cayou unopposed in bid for sixth Swinomish Senate term

SWINOMISH, Wash. – Chester Cayou Sr. is unopposed in his bid for a sixth term on the Swinomish Indian Senate.

Cayou is one of 11 senators; and is on the March 15 general election ballot. Janie Beasley, Lydia Charles and Brian Wilbur hope to advance to the general election in the Feb. 14 primary. Senators serve five-year terms.

As a senator, Cayou serves on the Senate Budget Committee, Fish and Game Commission, Law and Order Committee, Personnel Committee and the Veterans/Cemetery Committee. He welcomes canoe families to Swinomish during the annual Canoe Journey and is known for his teachings to young people about the importance of loving, caring and sharing with one another.

Cayou is a decorated World War II Army veteran now in his 80s. Before he retired, he fished, worked in a shake mill, built campsites and trails for Thousand Trails, maintained state parks in the area, and planted trees on the reservation. He has seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

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“I wish to further my position with the Swinomish community as a Swinomish senator,” Cayou said in Kee-Yoks magazine. “I have served on the Senate for 25 years and have participated in achieving great accomplishments for our tribe. I feel that my experience and knowledge will continue to support the improvements for our community for our future generations to come.”

Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at