ESPANOLA, NEW MEXICO – Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez and their staff met privately with former President Bill Clinton to advocate on behalf of issues that face the Navajo Nation on Tuesday, May 24, before a rally held at the Plaza De Espanola.Former President Clinton told the gathered tribal leaders that they would not be left behind if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is elected president.
“We will devote an enormous amount of time to developing the economic and educational capacity you need. We believe that tribal people have the capacity to have more economic development, which has been the case in the past,” he said. “Modest investments will bring huge returns if we do it right.”
Former President Clinton said he knows Native American nations need support in areas of education and programs combating social and dependency ills.
During the brief meeting with tribal leaders, President Russell Begaye told former President Clinton that he invites Sen. Hillary Clinton to visit the Nation’s capital in Window Rock, Ariz.
“Yes, like I did,” he replied.
President Clinton said he would work with the Secretary’s staffers to see if this might be a possibility.
“As president, Bill Clinton brought about the New Market Tax Credit Program which the Navajo Nation will endeavor to utilize in leveraging dollars to fund infrastructure projects,” Vice President Nez said.
The New Market Tax Credit Program enacted in 2000 permits individual and corporate taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making Qualified Equity Investments (QEIs) in qualified community development entities (CDEs).
These investments are expected to result in the creation of jobs and material improvement in the lives of residents of low-income communities. Project examples include financing small businesses, improving community facilities such as daycare centers, and increasing home ownership opportunities.
“We trust that Sec. Clinton will continue to help in assisting underserved communities like those that exist on the Nation,” Vice President Nez added.
Vice President Jonathan Nez mentioned to President Clinton that he is PLEO Delegate for Secretary Clinton’s presidential candidacy at the Democratic National Convention.
In order to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, a candidate must win 2,383 delegates at the national convention (this total is current as of May 24, 2016). Currently, there are expected to be 4,765 delegates at the Democratic National Convention
There are two basic types of Democratic convention delegates: pledged and unpledged
Pledged party leaders and elected officials (PLEO delegates) are delegates by virtue of their office. PLEO delegates can include statewide elected officials, state legislators, local elected officials or party leaders. PLEO delegates are allocated proportionally based on the statewide results of the primary or caucus
Sen. Clinton had five delegate spots and Vice President Jonathan Nez clenched a seat as a PLEO delegate for her candidacy. The vice president ran against 19 other contenders and received 139 votes to secure his spot.
Other PLEO delegates for Sen. Clinton include Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Tohono O’odham Chairman Edward Manuel.
In the public rally, Clinton addressed issues of alternative energy and geographical potential. Beyond this, he also concentrated on how small business have contributed to the development of new jobs.
“It’s important not to forget that two-thirds of all our new jobs for the past 20 years have come from small businesses. Yet still, we haven’t started making small business loans in this country since the financial crisis,” he said. “We’ve made that a priority and Hillary knows it will work.”
“We can win this thing and keep America going. We just have to make the decision if we are going to rise together. We have to make a decision on if our future lies with bridges or with walls. I’m betting we are going to prefer answers to anger and results to resentment.”