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Mayor Testifies Against Bill Hindering the Tohono O'odham West Valley project


Mayor Bob Barrett of Peoria, Arizona, testified Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., against Congressman Trent Franks' proposed bill before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, reported the Peoria Times.

If passed, Franks' bill would block the Tohono O'odham Nation from building its proposed resort/casino in Glendale, across the street from the City of Peoria.

Barrett told the subcommittee the project would generate jobs for people in the West Valley—an area with "some of the fastest growth in Arizona," that also has "suffered significantly from the recession and faces continued economic fragility."

"Let us be clear from the outset about what H.R. 2938 really is: job-killing special interest legislation designed to protect existing Indian gaming operations and those who benefit from those operations," Barrett said. "This bill is not about whether the Nation's land lies within its aboriginal territory or about whether the proposed casino and resort complies with the tribal-state compact or other applicable laws. And it most certainly is not about ‘protecting' the local community. Rather, this bill represents an attempt to circumvent ongoing litigation challenging the Nation's project which, so far, has not gone to the established gaming interests' liking and has upheld the right of the Tohono O'odham Nation to develop its resort project."

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