Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer and members of the 24 Navajo Nation Council, Eugenia Charles-Newton and Thomas Walker, Jr., recently held a roundtable discussion with United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and former White House Deputy Director William Kirkland in Cameron, Arizona to discuss agricultural initiatives and potential partnerships with the Navajo Nation.
"It was a rare and unique opportunity to welcome Secretary Perdue to the Navajo Nation to gain a firsthand perspective of our agricultural needs and challenges. As the Navajo Nation continues to fight COVID-19, we appreciate Secretary Perdue’s willingness to work together to improve water resources, land management, and telecommunication infrastructure. Our Navajo people are in dire need of running water and other basic infrastructure, especially during times of pandemics," said Vice President Lizer.
The roundtable discussion focused on broadband expansion opportunities, the United States Department of Agriculture Indian Community Development Block Grant, and water infrastructure needs, the Farm Bill, and the Navajo Nation’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.
The Nez-Lizer Administration’s has developed a proposal for the use of the remaining $662 million in CARES Act funds, which includes the following:
- $300 Million for water infrastructure and agriculture projects
- $150 Million for powerline and solar infrastructure
- $50 Million for Broadband/Telecommunication
- $50 Million for scholarships to assist students entering the health care and public safety fields
- $60 Million to help Navajo businesses, and promote economic development
- $20 Million to address housing needs on the Navajo Nation
- Remaining amount for additional chapter projects and direct aid for the Navajo people
"The Administration continues to advocate for adequate and sustainable infrastructure at the federal level. More than ever, our citizens need resources and services to combat many issues. We must consider every opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our federal leaders for the benefit of the People," said Vice President Lizer.
During the meeting, Secretary Purdue expressed great interest and understanding of the concerns due to his previous roles as a farmer, veterinarian, agricultural businessman.
Vice President Lizer also addressed the need to maximize the agriculture and agribusiness sector's ability on the Navajo Nation to create jobs and to produce and sell food products globally. The United States Department of Agriculture plays a critical role in ensuring the Navajo Nation's food security, he added.
"Land resources sustain more than 320 million Americans and millions more around the globe. As stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to invest and take care of our lands, and leave it in a better condition for future generations and opportunities," added Vice President Lizer.
Secretary Perdue also announced that the United States Department of Agriculture is offering assistance to the Navajo Nation with agricultural and water projects, including the decommissioning of coal-burning power plants and to support new energy projects.
"On behalf of the Nez-Lizer Administration, I thank Secretary Perdue for reaching out to our Nation’s leaders to offer assistance and guidance to expand rural broadband, rural development operations, food security, farming, ranching, and job creation," added Vice President Lizer.