FDL Voters Guide - District 1 Representative, Cloquet - Eugene Reynolds

EUGENE REYNOLDS Q - What is the best way for the Reservation to structure debt refinancing that will not only make fiscal sense but will also protect the forward momentum of current projects? A - I believe we should do our own financing. Why pay ...



Q - What is the best way for the Reservation to structure debt refinancing that will not only make fiscal sense but will also protect the forward momentum of current projects?

A - I believe we should do our own financing. Why pay high interest rate to a finance company when we have the capability to finance our current projects? The $120 million expansion of the casino and hotel should be paid off at this time with our investment portfolio. The initial plan was to pay off the loan with US Bank when the payments exceeded the earning of the investment portfolio and the payments used to reinvest in the portfolio. "That time has come." We need to make our money work for Fond du Lac, not someone else. We need to establish a building fund for future projects so we don't have to borrow a percent of the profit [which] could be put into the budget for that purpose.

Q - How do you propose to go about preserving per-capita payment and at the same time manage the increasing challenges to the RBC budget?


A -I believe the increased profits from the casino and hotel expansion should take care of preserving the per-capita payments for years to come, but we still have to be vigilant and watch our spending and continue to grow.

Q - How can casino operations be stabilized to ensure fiscal viability for decades to come? And how important is it to look beyond casino for long term financial security?

A - We have to understand our competitor's strengths and weaknesses so we can position Black Bear Casino & Hotel as the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest. We have built the building, but it's the workforce passionately driving the success that will make Black Bear the premier casino in the Midwest. We have to diversify our enterprises and be less dependent on gaming and I believe we have started with our C store, propane company, and logging company.

Q - Is there a way of streamlining management and improving governance on the reservation- or is the current structure necessary for maximum productivity?

A - We need a separation of government and enterprises to be more productive, right now the RBC oversees the government and the businesses. I believe we need a corporate board to oversee the enterprises.

Q - What sort of strategic planning is necessary to protect the health and welfare of current and future generations?

A - We currently have the premier clinic in Indian country that protects the health and welfare of our people. We have a clinic in Duluth, and have just recently open a pharmacy in Minneapolis to serve our off-reservation people. The administrative staff is the best when it comes to strategic planning and I'm sure the quality of service will be there for generations to come.

Q - In your opinion, what is the best way of maintaining cultural integrity in the midst of the fast-paced world around us?


A - We have to get back to our traditional teaching, we will be happy when we can create peace with ourselves and with other. Remember your true values as Anishinaabe people: take care of yourself, remember your spirit, be there for each other, respect each other, share knowledge, and always keep learning. I have brought traditional teaching to the Cloquet Center and I will continue as long as there is a need.

Q - Do you have suggestions as to improve education, retention and career training for Indian students on and off the reservation?

A - I supported doubling the scholarship program during my tenure, we also have to support students who are looking to go into a trade, and we have to support our current employees and get them the training needed to be successful.

Q - What are your suggestions for managing sustainable development as the reservation moves forward into the future?

A - We have to stay ahead of our competition and continue to grow, and look for new ways to diversify our income source.

Q - What means would you suggest to enforce the reservation's Declaration of Policy Against Violence Impact in order to prevent violence, drugs and gang activity?

A - I always said the level of crime in a community is the level of crime that a community will tolerate. We have started a community watch program and got the community involved as a deterrent to crime.

Q - Housing has become an increasing issue as more enrolled members stay on the reservation or move back. What type of plan do you favor to manage current housing and plan for the future?


A - Housing has always been the number one concern on the reservation. We are currently looking at new ways to adequately serve the Fond du Lac people. Instead of building five or six houses a year which doesn't meet our needs, we have to look at ways to do more with the money available, [for example] condominium, cluster housing. We are currently trying to get funding for a supportive housing unit in the Cloquet area, we have purchased land near Airport Road and the chairwoman is working on the funding.


For those of you who don't know me, I was born and raised on the Fond du Lac reservation, and a lifelong resident. My parents are Eugene and Evelyn Reynolds. I am married to Ruby and have two children, my daughter Realea (Skow) Reynolds and my son Lucas Reynolds. I retired from Potlatch in April 2002 after 31 years of service. I went to school in Cloquet and Carlton, and in the Job Corp where I got my [GED] in 1966. I have numerous certificates of learning and two years of college, with a major in business.

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