SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – Longtime Chairman Vincent Armenta will lead the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians for at least another term as the tribe overwhelmingly voted to re-elect him. He has served since 1999.
“I have gained insight, knowledge and experience that uniquely positioned me as an individual who can lead our tribe into the future,” Armenta said in a press release. “Not only do I understand the quest for Native American entrepreneurial spirit and cultural preservation, I have lived it for the past 10 years.”
The tribe’s gaming venue, the Chumash Casino Resort located on the reservation, is one of the most popular in California’s Central Coast. They also own two hotels and are the largest employer in the Santa Ynez Valley, employing more than 1,600 residents of Santa Barbara County.
Incumbent Business Committee members David Dominguez, Richard Gomez, Kenneth Kahn and Gary Pace were also re-elected.
Collectively, they represent decades of tribal leadership.
Gomez was re-elected to his seventh consecutive term. Kahn and Pace were elected to their fourth terms.
“The decisions we have made as a leadership team have helped us face tough economic times and I’m confident that our decisions will help keep our tribe strong in the future,” Gomez said.
Dominguez, who served as tribal chairman for nearly a decade in the 1990s, was re-elected to his third term.
“There was a time when our tribe had very little – no running water or electricity on the reservation, scarcity of jobs. We now have so much to be proud of. We have accomplished a lot as a tribe and I am proud to have had a role in getting the tribe to where we are today.”
The election was held in February with ballots mailed to eligible voting tribal members 21 years and older and members were also given the option of voting in person March 13.