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Aaron DeBrot – lco-nsn

Lac Courte Oreilles

Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe

Candidate Statements

We, the Anishinabeg, the people of Odaawaa-Zaaga'iganiing, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band, will sustain our heritage, preserving our past, strengthening our present, and embracing our future. We will defend our inherent sovereign rights and safeguard Mother Earth. We will provide for the educational, health, social welfare, and economic stability of the present and future generations.

My name is Aaron DeBrot. I am a 32-year-old father of 3. I am a descendant of both the DeBrot and DeNasha families. I was raised in the village of New Post, along the waters of the Chippewa Flowage.  I have worked since the age of 18 for our tribe in various capacities that required working the front lines, day in and day out with those that keep the tribe running. I know what’s it’s like to start from the bottom and recognize the effort it takes to advance professionally. The past 6 years I have worked at the Lac Courte Oreilles Conservation Department as a Game Warden. In this role I have always found it best to have common sense, compassion, empathy, and above all, respect for others.
I’ve seen firsthand many of the issues that have continued to plague our people. My devotion to my community, my people, and our future is of the highest importance. I believe that two of my strengths are initiative and perseverance, attributes that have contributed to success for me personally and professionally. I live my life with strong integrity, never falling to pressure or fear when faced with difficult decisions. I believe in fair, just, and honest decision making. We owe it to our people to help members walk the right path and be a role model for the community.
I have seen many leaders come and go throughout the years, too many with the same agendas, lack of vision and no ideas to enhance our tribal economy. Looking to our future, I hope to break that cycle and earn my chance to lead our people. We owe it to our children and our future generations to always protect this beautiful place we call home. 
If given the opportunity to serve as Tribal Council member, I would like to focus on the following topics:
Health and human services:
 One of my main concerns is the health and wellbeing of the membership. We have gone too long with far too many members suffering from homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues. It is time to gather our resources and find meaningful solutions to these crises our members are experiencing. Current and past leaders have taken steps to help ease homelessness, however it hasn’t been enough. I plan to hit the ground running on initiatives such as Housing First, Supportive Housing or multi-family housing programs. It requires leadership to rally our people, entities, and program directors to find these solutions.
We may also need to reach across boundaries and work with the county court system, probation, and parole to lend support and resources to our members struggling in the system or serving time. Too often, members face huge obstacles once they are released, finding work or transitional housing without the necessary support. These members are important to our community, and they deserve the opportunity to become healthy and contributing members of the community.
We need to take a strong look at our youth and their mental health. Too many children are experiencing pain growing up in a rough world, running from issues that they can’t even begin to understand. Too many of our children today are growing up in broken homes without one or any parents, being raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family members or non-natives. We need to prioritize and make available necessary family resources that combat the effects of this travesty. Hopefully, we can prevent further damage and minimize the everyday struggles for these youth. Our children are our future, and we owe it to them to do everything we can so they may lead a healthy happy life. In many cases, the solution starts with a focus on connecting families that have been separated due to many of the issues I have stated. 
Economic development:
 The time is now to focus on improving our economic growth. We need start making our businesses work for us, rather than work for our businesses. We need to move towards becoming more self-sufficient. We need to create more job opportunities and get our people working again. We are living in an increasingly expensive economy, and wages across the board need to keep up with those increases. Those on the frontlines need to be supported and be able to support themselves just as much as those holding higher positions throughout the tribe. 
As I’ve stated in past campaigns, we need to push forward with renovating the Hideout property. We need to build a small gas station with light groceries, an RV park with nightly and seasonal RV sites, offer cabin rentals and rough camping sites. This property has national name recognition and all the attributes that allure tourism. This property has unlimited possibilities that are beneficial to the tribe if someone takes the initiative to develop it to its potential. It’s a shame it’s been neglected so long.   
Next, I would like to redevelop the Norwood Haven property into a fully functioning resort/ high class restaurant. Grindstone Lake is one of the most pristine lakes in northern Wisconsin. The lake attracts fishing and water enthusiasts from around the country. We are missing so much opportunity not utilizing that property to its fullest potential. These properties could be so beneficial to the tribe, helping us become more sustainable, creating many more jobs. 
These are just a few examples of issues I would like to focus on if given an opportunity to serve as a member of the Tribal Governing Board. It is time for our leadership to start being wiser with the tribe’s finances. We need sustainability. We need intelligent decision making. We need strength. We need honesty. We need guidance and accountability. We need leadership that is going to bring Pride back to Lac Courte Oreilles. 
I will never make promises I cannot keep, but I do promise to work tirelessly every day to be the leader every member deserves. I would be honored to serve you as a member of the Tribal Governing Board. I hope you consider me as one of your candidate selections in the upcoming election. Miigwech for your time and consideration! I wish you all good health and happiness.