ONE FEATHER STAFF
SYLVA – It depends on the election results in Jackson County, but should Commissioner Ron Mau (R-Jackson) succeed in his bid to become chair, Tribal Secretary of Operations Jeremy Hyatt could be another tribal voice in another county government. Hyatt was appointed to fill the remaining two years of Mau’s staggered term should Mau become the county’s next chairperson. If that happens Hyatt will have to balance his duties to the tribe with those of the county.
Jackson County Republican Party Chair Ralph Slaughter, who’s known Hyatt since his days working with Principal Chief Michell Hicks, praised the pick. “Ron Mau is a good friend of Jeremy’s. He has worked with him on the Jackson County Planning Board. I think the consensus is that he would make a great commissioner for Jackson County.”
Mau, who’s challenging Democratic incumbent Brian McMahan, said of Hyatt, “I think he’s an outstanding, upstanding individual. He’s very pragmatic, a good decision maker. I think he’d do a great job, no question about it.”
Hyatt said he can balance his tribal and county duties should he be placed on the commission. “I don’t think there will be a conflict. I will always honor my responsibility to the tribe. I think it will enhance the relationship between the tribe and Jackson County.”
Principal Chief Richard Sneed said Hyatt is a good choice. “Jeremy Hyatt has proven himself to be honest, dependable and honorable during his time as the (tribe’s) secretary of operations,” he said. “I have full faith in the ability and character of Mr. Hyatt, and I am confident he would be an excellent addition to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. I would like to congratulate Jeremy for the opportunity and wish him and Ron Mau the best in the coming election.”
Hyatt considers the potential appointment to be an honor and privilege. “It is my hope that my experience in public service thus far, and my perspective as an enrolled Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians member, will enable me to best serve the people of Jackson County, while continuing to build a strong, mutually beneficial partnership between Jackson County and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.”