Voters have spoken - 421 to be exact.
That's how many voted to elect Jay Police Chief Mike Shambaugh as the District 9 Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor during the runoff election on Saturday, July 22.
Shambaugh defeated his opponent Clifton Hughes, who received 345 votes.
The election was one of two runoff contests decided on Saturday. The other, for District 5, placed E.O. Smith ahead of Uriah Grass 347 votes to 317.
Both men, along with the June Tribal Council election winners: Harley Buzzard, Joe Byrd, Victoria Vazquez, Frankie Hargis, Janees Taylor, Mike Dobbins and Mary Baker Shaw, at an official swearing in ceremony at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 14, during an inauguration ceremony at Sequoyah High school’s gym in Tahlequah.
Shambaugh said he was both relieved and happy following Saturday's win.
"I did enjoy meeting new people and talking to people," Shambaugh said, as he traveled through the district with spans much of southern Delaware and Mayes Counties from Highway 20 to Highway 412.
"It's one of two things I've always wanted to be," Shambaugh said. "It's something that I've always aspired to do.
"I've been a public servant for 28 years. I think it will be self satisfying to be able to help the Cherokee people in my district."
For now, Shambaugh plans to balance his duties as Jay Police Chief, with those of a tribal councilor.
"I have one and a half years left on my term," Shambaugh said. "Obviously, I want to see how one affects the other. When my re-election comes up, I'll reevaluate what I want to do with my career."
Shambaugh said he plans to spend much of his future days, interacting with the Cherokee people, listening to issues and problems, and working to find solutions when possible.
He also anticipates spending his first few council meetings with his "mouth shut, listening and learning how the system works."
"I do have ideas I would like to make others on the council aware," Shambaugh said, adding he would like to address issues within elder care, health care and incentives for students.
During the campaign, Shambaugh told voters he favored developing an incentive program for students, which would help high achieving scholars earn laptops for their educational pursuits.
"I will always put [Cherokees] first," Shambaugh said. "I will always be available. I will fight for them."
Shambaugh said this new addition to his resume is an honor he does not take lightly.
"It's one of the biggest honors of my life," Shambaugh said. "Ill be there to listen to the problems.
"At the end of the day, I want to look people in the eye, shake hands and be happy for what I'm able to do for them. I'm ready for that challenge."