My name is Chilah Brown. I have recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Masters in Tribal Administration and Governance, I am an Isle resident, my family has resided in the Mille Lacs region for generations. Growing up in Isle, I have seen the impact of how 20 years our communities and townships have been struggling to provide jobs, education, housing, economic development, transportation, childcare services and or emergency services for the benefits of the people of District 15. I have never ran for office nor was politically active until the day I walked into the Milaca VFW.
April 2nd, 2016 in Milaca, Minnesota the Mille Lacs County DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor Party) held a meeting where community members of Senate District 15 interested in becoming a State Senate candidate could speak and sign up. After listening to one of the candidates say he wanted to “challenge Indians on their treaty rights” I could not sit quietly. Being the only full blood native in the room, a proud Mille Lacs tribal member, I had to speak out and put my name forward for consideration for the endorsement for the Senate seat. On April 9th, I had my first debate with candidate Josh Lamb. Out of 72 voters that day 59 votes were cast for me, Chilah Brown, 12 were for Josh Lamb. With 82% of the votes. History was made. I became the first Mille Lacs Band member, to be endorsed for State Senate in the Mille Lacs area.
My focus and reason for running for Senate is to bridge the gap between communities so we can come together to address issues and to create solutions that will benefit all. Our District has been overlooked, underfunded and misrepresented for too long. Now is the time for the people of Senate District 15 to unite and join in an effort to open lines of communication, address issues of mutual concern and find solutions that will uplift all of our families and help our region achieve its full potential. We can only spark change in this district with a new type of leadership and representation.
I have support of people who recognize the need for change and understand the possibilities. When law makers truly seek what’s in the best interest of the people and work together, we all prosper. Native people have a voice. We can create positive changes and move toward a more promising future for all. I am blessed to have the opportunity to let my voice be heard and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. I need your support help me make history.