Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, New Mexico State Rep. Harry Garcia (D-Dist. 69), and Vice President Myron Lizer at the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe, N.M. on Feb. 11, 2019
Published February 13, 2019
SANTA FE, N.M. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer met with members of the New Mexico House and Senate, the New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs, and the Legislative Finance Committee at the New Mexico State Capitol on Monday, to request their support for capital outlay projects on the Navajo Nation.
Each year, members of the state legislature, as well as the governor, are allocated funds for capital improvement projects that range from senior centers, veteran centers, parking lots, water lines, and many others. Monday was the last day for submission of proposed projects for capital outlay funds for the current legislative session.
“We have 54 chapter governments in the state of New Mexico and each of them has capital improvement projects that need funding assistance, so this is a great opportunity for us to advocate on their behalf,” stated President Nez.
Among other initiatives discussed with New Mexico State Rep. Harry Garcia (D-Dist. 69), President Nez and Vice President Lizer offered their continued support for a new veterans center in the community of Thoreau, which was funded through capital outlay funds and funding provided by the Navajo Nation. The project was previously approved under Rep. Garcia’s priority project listing for capital outlay funds.
“We are thankful to Representative Garcia for his support for the veterans center – it’s a great example of the success that comes from partnerships between the Nation and the state of New Mexico. With the current funding surplus at the state level, there’s a tremendous opportunity for the Nation to secure additional funds for community projects and we’re doing everything we can to make sure our people get a good share of the benefits,” Vice President Lizer said.
They also met with State Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Dist. 9), who serves as the chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, and officials with the Department of Indian Affairs in regards to projects that may benefit from the state’s Tribal Infrastructure Fund or TIF.
TIF was created in 2005 to allow New Mexico tribes the opportunity to submit proposals for infrastructure projects that are selected for funding by the Tribal Infrastructure Board membership, which includes a representative from the Navajo Nation. President Nez recently recommended Paulson Chaco, Chief of Staff for the Office of the President and Vice President, to serve on the board. This year’s deadline for tribes to submit TIF proposals is March 4.
“As this process moves along, it’s important for the Navajo Nation to present a united voice on these projects and work together to push those projects that are construction ready. We have to be effective in using funds from the state and complete projects in a timely manner,” stated President Nez.
Newly appoint Navajo Nation Division of Community Development Executive Director Dr. Pearl Yellowman, is tasked with working with the tribal and state officials to coordinate project priorities in partnership with the Office of the President and Vice President and the 24th Navajo Nation Council.