Chris Stearns, Navajo, is a Commissioner and past Chairman of the Washington State Gambling Commission, the second oldest gambling regulatory agency in the nation. Chris is also Of Counsel to the national Indian law firm of Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker where he practices with a focus on campaign and elections, government relations, gaming, energy, and cannabis law.
Chris has served as Democratic Counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources where he oversaw national legislation on tribal self-governance, health care, federal recognition, and gaming. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first-ever Director of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy. Chris also served as Deputy Counsel for the U.S. House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs.
In 2000, Chris was selected to serve as the North Dakota State Presidential Campaign Director for Vice President Al Gore. He was the first-ever Native American appointed to such a senior position within a presidential campaign. Chris later spent four years as the political advisor to the President of the National Congress of American Indians.
Chris is the President of the Board of Directors of the Seattle Indian Health Board. He also served two terms as Chairman of the City of Seattle’s Human Rights Commission where he led efforts on police accountability, on jobs assistance legislation for people with criminal records, and also testified before the United Nations on indigenous rights.
Chris graduated from Cornell Law School and Williams College.