Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Lynn Valbuena

Illustration by Chris Shary

77. Lynn Valbuena

An example of the power of Tribal leaders in California politics: In April, Lynn ‘Nay’ Valbuena was elected to her fifth term as Chair of the powerful San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, replacing Chairman Ken Ramirez. Back in December, Ramirez, along with the heads of three other tribes, launched a Ballot Initiative effort to legalize sports betting in Indian Casinos, the “Age-Verified Tribal Online and In-Person Sports Wagering Regulatory Act.” The effort put San Manuel at odds not only with the Sportsbook-backed Prop. 27, but also with the Pechanga-led Tribal coalition promoting Proposition 26. A month after taking office, Valbuena announced that San Manuel was sidelining that effort, and in July, contributed $25 million to the No on Proposition 27. These moves are no surprise to those familiar with Valbuena: she is known as a peacemaker and savvy player in the world of Tribal politics, traits which have contributed to her longevity as leader of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), where she is currently serving her 27th year as Chairwoman.

Updated Aug. 11, 2022

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