Stitt’s top tribal adviser steps down, cites gaming dispute
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s top adviser on tribal issues announced her resignation on Monday and accused the governor of creating an ‘unnecessary conflict’ with the tribes over casino gambling.
Lisa Billy, a former Republican lawmaker and Stitt’s secretary of Native American Affairs, said in her resignation letter that Stitt’s position on the compacts poses a threat both to the state’s economy and its relationship with the tribes.
“You have dismissed advice and facts that show the peril of your chosen approach and have remained intent on breaking faith with the Tribes, both by refusing to engage with the compact’s language and, more recently, by suggesting you would displace our Tribal partners with private, out-of-state commercial gaming operators,” the letter states.
Stitt said in a statement he was grateful for Billy’s service and he remains committed to working collaboratively with the tribes.
The governor caught many tribal leaders off guard this summer when he announced in a newspaper editorial that he wanted to renegotiate the compacts.
The two sides have been locked in a dispute ever since about whether the compacts expire on Jan. 1. Stitt claims they do, but the tribes maintain triggers have been met for the compacts to automatically renew.