National Indian Gaming Commission selects first vice chair in years

The three members of the National Indian Gaming Commission attended the recent National Indian Gaming Association trade show and convention in Phoenix, Arizona, in March 2016. From left: Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri, Associate Commissioner E. Sequoyah Simermeyer and Vice Char Kathryn Isom-Clause. Photo by NIGC

The National Indian Gaming Commission has a vice chair for the first time in more than three years.

Kathryn Isom-Clause was selected for the post by her colleagues last week, the agency announced on Tuesday. She's also the newest member of the commission.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to take on the additional responsibilities as Vice Chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission,” Isom-Clause, a member of Taos Pueblo, said in a press release. “As the commission moves forward as a collaborative team, I am conscious of the significant and vital work that must be accomplished."

The NIGC's last vice chair was Steffani Cochran, a member of the Chickasaw Nation. The post went vacant following her departure in January 2013.

The NIGC never got a third member after that and the agency even dropped down to just one member for a six-month stretch in 2015. The situation changed with the arrival of E. Sequoyah Simermeyer as an associate commissioner last November and again with Isom-Clause in March.

According to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the vice chair will serve as chair in the event the chair is unable to attend a meeting of the commission. Jonodev Chaudhuri, a member of the Muscogee Nation, serves as chair.

Under IGRA, each commissioner serves a three-year term. Since Chaudhuri, Simermeyer and Isom-Clause are relatively new arrivals, their runs will extend into the next administration although they are not necessarily required to stay on board.

In the past, commissioners have been known to stick around during transition periods. That helps ensure stability for the agency and the $28.5 billion tribal casino industry and it gives a new administration more time to install their own team at the agency

Federal Register Notice:
Proposed Appointment to the National Indian Gaming Commission (February 8, 2016)

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