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Sequoyah Simermeyer Nominated as NIGC Chair

Sequoyah Simermeyer, a member of the North Carolina state-recognized Coharie Tribe, has been nominated by President Trump to the position of chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). Since November 2015, Simermeyer has served as an associate commissioner for the NIGC and is the current director of self-regulation.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt praised the nomination: “Sequoyah Simermeyer has a wealth of experience on Tribal issues working in different executive and legislative branch capacities. He is the ideal candidate for this position, and I urge Congress to confirm him quickly.”

E. Sequoyah Simermeyer (Coharie)

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Senate Committee on Indian Affairs chairman, similarly commended Simermeyer’s years of experience that qualify him for NIGC Chair. Prior to joining the NIGC in November 2015, Simermeyer was the deputy chief of staff to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs, where he focused on a wide range of national policy issues, including land into trust, Tribal governance and economic development. He also completed a one-year assignment with the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs where he authored legislative proposals, wrote committee reports and conducted extensive briefings on legal and policy matters related to Indian Country. Simermeyer also served as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, first appointed during the Bush Administration in 2007.

Simermeyer earned his Bachelor of Art degree from Dartmouth College, a Master of Study degree in environmental law from Vermont Law School, and a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School.

If Congress confirms his nomination, Simermeyer will serve a term of three years. His nomination comes more than a month after the May 15 departure of Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri from the position. (Chaudhuri transitioned to chair the national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP‘s Indian Law and Policy Group from its Washington, D.C. office.)

The National Indian Gaming Commission was created in 1988 with the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which was enacted to support and promote Tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong Tribal governments through the operation of gaming on Indian lands. Funded through fees paid by Tribal gaming operations, the NIGC has jurisdiction over 512 licensed gaming establishments operated by 246 Tribes in 29 states. The NIGC currently counts approximately 114 full-time employees in seven regional offices with an annual budget of $25 million in FY 2019. 

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