For Immediate Release ~ November 17, 2005
Contact: Shawn Pensoneau ~ (202) 632-7003
Washington, DC — Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Chairman Philip Hogen of the National Indian Gaming Commission jointly announced today that Vice-Chairman Nelson Westrin has decided to leave the Commission after his current three year term expires in December. Westrin plans to return to his home in Michigan and join the law firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.
In announcing Westrin’s decision to leave the Commission, Secretary Norton expressed appreciation for his service and accomplishments: “Nelson has served as an active and effective member of the NIGC and has shown an unwavering dedication to its mission. I salute his tenure and wish him well in the future”
In December 2002, Secretary Norton appointed Westrin and Cloyce V. Choney of Oklahoma to serve as associate commissioners with Chairman Hogen on the three- member Commission. The Commission was created by Congress to provide Federal regulatory oversight for the $20 billion Indian gaming industry and its 405 Tribal gaming operations across the country.
Commission Chairman Hogen also stated that “Nelson Westrin’s contributions to the NIGC have been invaluable. He was thoughtful, he provided strong leadership, he listened carefully to our tribal constituency, and he helped maintain a strong esprit de corps in our offices and among our staff. We wish him well in his future endeavors, but we will miss him sorely.”
Shortly after joining the Commission, Westrin was elected by his fellow commissioners to serve as the Commission’s vice-chairman. During his tenure on the Commission, Westrin was instrumental in developing the Commission’s first-ever written official Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation Policy. In addition, he and the other commissioners also worked very closely in consultation with tribal leaders and advisory committees to upgrade the Commission’s Minimum Internal Control Standards regulation and develop proposed classification and technical standards for Class II technologic gaming aids and devices.
The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.