Anderson pulls upset for Chief
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 11:30 AM
Challenger Phyliss J. Anderson defeated Beasley Denson with 55 percent of the vote Tuesday in a run-off election to become the first woman Choctaw Indian Chief.
In complete and certified returns, Anderson polled 1,971 votes to incumbent Denson's 1,618.
The Choctaw Election Committee counted the absentee and "challenged" ballots Wednesday
In the race for the Bogue Homa Tribal Council position, Robert Briscoe was declared the winner 92 votes over Berdie M. Steve 84 in uncertified returns.
Anderson was surrounded by family, friends and supporters in the Neshoba County Coliseum Tuesday night when the final votes were tallied.
"I feel very proud right now," she said. "I am just so excited for tonight because this is just the beginning of our unity. People united and stood for what they believed in and I am just so proud of them. You can just not believe how much I love these people and really respect them for standing for what they believe in."
Her comments were followed by a cheer of excitement from the crowd.
Anderson, 50, carried the communities of Crystal Ridge, 41-16; Pearl River, 683-443; Red Water, 213-99; Tucker, 208-130 and Bogue Chitto-Henning, Tenn., 18-7.
She and Denson tied at the Bogue Chitto box in Neshoba County with 204 votes each.
Denson carried Bogue Homa, 110-54; Conehatta, 245-186; and Standing Pine, 154-134.
In absentee balloting, Anderson captured 98 votes to Denson's 71.
During the campaign, she said the Choctaw people clearly stated they wanted new leadership and change in the Office of Tribal Chief.
She said people were fearful for their jobs and their livelihood.
She pledged that she would "not tolerate intimidation, use of fear tactics and/or threats of jobs."
A native of the Red Water community in Leake County, Anderson is married to Ricky Anderson Sr. She is the mother to three, stepmother to four and grandmother to two. She is a graduate of Choctaw Central High School and East Central Community College where she earned an associates degree in liberal arts.
She has held the position of secretary-treasurer and chair of numerous Tribal Council committees.
Anderson has served on a number of governing boards and committees including those in the Tribal manufacturing, Tribal government contracting, gaming and hospital industries.
Denson was first elected to the Tribal Council in 1975 and during his five terms he served as both secretary-treasurer and vice chief.