Arizona Senate and House Democratic Caucuses
The $15 billion bi-partisan state budget approved by the Arizona House and Senate early yesterday morning contained long-needed and historic infrastructure, social safety investments for the Navajo Nation and other rural tribal communities, including K-12 and tribal colleges,. The Legislative District 7 team — Senator Theresa Hatathlie, Representatives Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren and Myron Tsosie — were yes votes to add $526 million in permanent base-level public school investment, as well as additional funds for special education and lower-income communities, and affordable housing. They released the following joint statement outlining the impact of the state budget:
"This historic funding for LD7 and Arizona tribes includes funding for children, veterans, roads, public safety, housing, education, and construction of facilities. The budget bills HB2858 and HB2862 allocated more than $55 million to the following projects:
- Lukachukai Veterans Multi-Purpose Complex, Lukachukai, AZ - $500,000
- Funding for Arizona Dept. of Veteran Services (ADVS) to fund Veteran Service Officers to provide services to rural communities - $2.2 million
- Funding for ADVS to distribute to discharged tribal military members for tribal ceremonies, including those with PTSD - $1 million
- ADOT, Highway 89 Roundabout, Page, AZ - $5 million
- ADOT, Ganado Loop Road - $1 million
- DOT, Sweetwater N35 Road Shortfall - $6 million
- DOT, Lupton & Houck N9402 Road - $10 million
- Kayenta Judicial Complex, Kayenta, AZ - $2 million
- Missing & Murdered Indigenous People, AZ Attorney General's Office - $2 million
- Childhood Trauma Training, AZ Dept. of Economic Security - $100,000
- Little Colorado Visitor Center, AZ State Parks Board - $1 million
- Teesto Multi-Purpose Center, Teesto, AZ - $1 million
- Dilkon Community Center, Dilkon, AZ - $3 million
- ADOH set aside for Navajo and Hopi tribal housing - $4 million
- Navajo Technical University Environmental Lab, Chinle, AZ - $4 million
- Diné College Student Center, Tuba City, AZ - $8 million
- Dept. of Indian Education, Language, Cultural & Historical Preservation - $5 million
We prioritized infrastructure, shovel-ready projects, and programs that help those most in need. Some of the projects have been years in the making and benefitted from the work of previous state representatives and senators. Many also resulted from the advocacy of Navajo Nation Chapter, Community & State Leaders. We have great mentors and examples of past Diné leaders; With that, we honor and acknowledge the trailblazers for setting the foundation to be at the table. Thank you Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, Representative Arlando Teller, Senator Albert Hale, Senator Jack Jackson, Jr., Senator Jack Jackson, Sr., Representative Eric Deschene, Representative Wenona Benally, Representative Jennifer Benally, Representative Sylvia Laughter, and Representative Daniel Peaches.
We know investing in roads ensures safer communities, it also improves accessibility and response time to receive first responder services. Vehicles require less maintenance. Roads invite economic development and other services. Our children spend less time on the school bus. When we invest in our students, we invest in our future and our communities. Native youth deserve support, understanding, and funding. We also prioritized public safety, the never-ending hope and search for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, and public safety concerns. We invested in community projects.
This budget was possible because we worked together with open communication. We stuck together, collaborated and made tough decisions to prioritize and select great projects. We were not in it for ourselves, we stayed on this path for our district, for the Navajo Nation, and for tribal communities.
This agreement would not have been possible without working directly with local community leaders. We would also like to further thank Navajo Nation Chapter, Township, and County Leaders who have supported us in this endeavor. Never before has LD7 produced such results. It was only with the support of local elected Chapter Officials, Veterans Organizations, and Township leaders were we able to secure these funds.
The Arizona State Legislature has historically overlooked tribal communities, seen our priorities pushed aside and overlooked, and were repeatedly told this was not the state's jurisdiction. Now, we are writing a different history. Ahxé'éé."