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Tohono O'odham Nation Opposes Arizona's Keep the Promise Act of 2013

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Following the announcement of a Bill co-sponsored by Congress members led by Trent Franks and Ann Kirkpatrick titled Keep the Promise Act of 2013 – the Tohono O’odham Nation released a statement defending the federally recognized tribe’s position in opposing the bill.

The Nation states that the proposed Bill is the latest attempt to circumvent the courts and protect a massive market share in the Phoenix, Arizona area – despite a string of lengthy court and agency defeats. “The proposed bill would draw an arbitrary line across Arizona to prohibit the Tohono O’odham Nation from gaming in areas that would impact the bottom line of a few powerful interests, halting the creation of thousands of new jobs in the West Valley,” the statement said. (Related story: Arizona Tribes Commend Keep the Promise Act of 2013)

The Nation states that the proposed Bill seeks to prevent the Tohono O’odham Nation “from gaming in the ‘Phoenix Metropolitan Area’ based upon a manufactured promise concocted by opponents in an attempt to protect their existing casinos. There are in fact no restrictions on the number of tribal casinos in the Phoenix metro area in either the state gaming compacts or the voter-approved Proposition 202 that authorized them.”

The Nation argues that there has been four years of debate, discussion and litigation over the West Valley Resort with a special interest group that opposes the project that ended in failure, and now the group is looking to change the rules “in order to preserve market share and control.”

“This legislation represents another attempt to unilaterally break the promise made by the federal government to recompense the Nation for flooding our lands. This bill threatens a major economic development project, stops the creation of thousands of jobs, and sets a dangerous precedent for tribes across America,” Ned Norris Jr., Tohono O’odham Nation chairman said.

In its release, the Nation states that “West Valley residents understand the need for the thousands of construction jobs and more than 3,000 permanent jobs this project will create, all at no cost to taxpayers. This is why more than two-thirds of West Valley voters consistently support the project, together with businesses groups, educators, and elected officials.”

The Nation states the resort will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact.

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