Andrea Pierce, Aaron Payment, T. J. Stephens
Published July 21, 2019
YPSILANTI, Mich. — T. J. Stephens, Sault Saint Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, accepted nomination to become co-Chair of the Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party. Member voted unanimously T.J. into office.
Stephens assumed the role of Vice Chair effective May 31, following Desmond Berry’s resignation on May 10, 2019. Berry resigned from Caucus leadership to begin a consulting company, which has oil company, Enbridge as a client. Prior to having Enbridge as a client, Berry was in opposition to the Enbridge Line 5.
The Caucus affirms that it has not had—nor will have any interest or part in any business which is in conflict with its mission.
A former member of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, Local 602, Stephens is currently studying at Bay Mills Community College to make a career change into public policy. His area of concentration is Native participation in political forums and offices outside of Native community governance.
Stephens has been attending powwows to discuss issues critical to Native communities and will be at the Anishinaabek Caucus table for the following Michigan powwows: Kitchi-Miniss in Munising, August 10; Gathering of Eagles in Hessel, August 16-18; Gathering of Clans in Manistique, August 24, Newaygo Gathering, September 21-22; Honoring our Anishinaabe Veterans in Kinross, November 1.
The Anishinaabek Caucus also welcomes to the following Committees: Kelly Willis-Benally, SCIT, Chair of Communications; Nicole Derusha-MacKay, SSM, Chair of Campaigns; Jamie Koopman, GTB, as Chair of Candidate Recruitment; Denise Petoskey, LTBB, Chair of Policy and Resolution; Denise Kirchoff Chair of Finance; Holly Bird, Chair of Rules and Bylaws.
Membership is open to all Michigan residents, although board leadership and committee chairs positions are reserved for members with official Michigan tribal registration.
Anishinaabek Caucus of MDP is a political caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party advocating for the issues and concerns of the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan.