Tammy Cook-Searson is no stranger to politics or the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

Cook-Searson was first elected chief of the La Ronge band in 2005 and has been re-elected in every election since.

Before that, she was a band councillor from 1997 to 2005.

Cook-Searson said one of the major reasons she is seeking re-election is to see a local health, wellness and recovery centre come to fruition.

“I lost my sister to suicide in 2003, my older sister,” she said. “I knew who she was and I knew what she was capable of but I just knew there wasn’t enough capacity in the north to be able to deal with the mental health and addictions issues we had.”

For more than two decades, Cook-Searson has had an unbeaten string of electoral victories.

However, she experienced her first bit of political adversity last fall when she ran and was defeated as the federal Liberal candidate in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River.

She says that election campaign, in one of Canada’s biggest federal ridings, was a learning experience and she took the political setback in stride.

“I think when you try something and just because you’re not successful, doesn’t mean you give up. You just keep going. It’s like anything in life.”

Cook-Searson said other priorities she plans to work on if re-elected are housing improvement, upgrades at the Little Red water treatment plant with the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and the Treaty 6 agricultural benefits claim.

She is one of six candidates seeking election as chief.

Online voting in the election has been open since May 11 with in-person voting available May 25 and May 26.

(PHOTO: Tammy Cook-Searson. File photo.)