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Rincon Band re-elects Currier

Members of the Rincon Band of Mission Indians have re-elected their chairman for a fourth six-year term as the tribe launches a massive expansion of its hotel and resort.

In a weekend election, a record turnout of 79 percent of eligible voters -- or 397 of 502 eligible members -- cast ballots.

John Currier beat a former tribal chairman, Ed Aviso, with 61 percent of the vote.

The tribe is preparing to unveil an expansion of the its Harrah's Rincon Casino and Resort. Rincon officials said the expansion puts the total Rincon tribal investment in the casino and resort at $307 million.

"With all that is at stake for Rincon tribal members," Currier said in the released statement, "the size of this mandate is very humbling and moving, but affirms that we're on the right track for continued economic success. Now, it's time to roll up our sleeves, get back to work and achieve even more."

Currier has been elected to the Business Committee in six successive elections. He closed his plumbing contracting business four years ago to work full time as the Rincon chairman.

The Rincon band in northern San Diego County partnered with gambling giant Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and opened a small, temporary casino in January 2001 with 759 slot machines. Two years ago, the tribe closed the old casino and, in its place, opened a new one with 1,600 slot machines in a 200-room hotel and resort.

The expanded hotel will boast 650 rooms in a 21-story tower.

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