Navajo Utah Commission addresses elections, projects at area chapters using ARPA funds
Members of the Navajo Utah Commission received an update on Chapter ARPA projects, discussed elections, and passed resolutions on internet access and domestic violence at their latest meeting.
During their June 14 meeting members of the Navajo Utah Commission heard reports on Primary Elections both in San Juan County and on the Navajo Nation.
San Juan County Clerk Lyman Duncan reported on the office efforts for the June 28 primary election. Including early voting held in Montezuma Creek, Bluff, Monument Valley, and Navajo Mountain.
As well as election day polling with Navajo language assistance at Montezuma Creek, Monument Valley, and Navajo Mountain.
Also reporting at the meeting was Rosita Kelly, Executive Director of Navajo Election Administration.
The offices of the Navajo Nation President and members of the Council are up for election this year. A primary election is being held on August 2.
Kelly explained the timeline for the election including voter registration closing on June 24, Absentee voting beginning on July 4, and early in-person voting ending on July 29 ahead of the August 2 election day.
A general election will be held on November 8, Kelly says their office is requesting additional funds in preparation.
“We have requested for additional funds to purchase a new database, computers, copiers, and hotspots. The internet access is so bad that they can’t access the database. We’re hopeful it’ll go through another election but we do have a back-up if the old database fails.”
The Navajo Utah Commission passed a resolution in support of providing adequate funding to the Navajo Elections Administration.
At the meeting, Kelly and Duncan also connected and made plans for their election offices to meet and coordinate together ahead of the November general election.
Also presenting at the meeting was a candidate for state representative district 69, Davina Smith.
Smith is the first Diné woman to run for the state legislature in Utah’s history. Smith, who is from Monument Valley but now lives in Blanding will represent the Democratic Party in November’s general election against Republican Incumbent Phil Lyman, also of Blanding.
Smith shared with the commission her professional background which includes work as a title 7 Indian Education coordinator in a Salt Lake School District school, as well as work with universities in Utah and Arizona to establish Native Teacher Training Programs. Smith also has worked for Fourth Street Clinic, a healthcare clinic for homeless people in Salt Lake City, and Utah Dine Bikeyah.
Smith, who reports raising $90,000 in campaign funds, said she is running to unite rural voices in the district.
“I want to fight hard to create opportunities that allow families to prosper in rural Utah for generations to come. That includes investing in our schools, affordable housing, working families, and the health of our environment and to ensure that every Utahns voice is heard in our government.”
Members of the commission offered endorsements of Smith and invited her to speak at chapter meetings.
At the meeting the commission also heard a report from the Navajo Division of Community Development.
The department gave an update on eligibility of projects proposed to be completed using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Projects reviewed by the Navajo Nation Department of Justice Office and deemed eligible for the funds include projects on Navajo Utah Chapters.
A completion of a housing project for five families in Aneth, as well as the hiring of a rural addressing technician for the Aneth Chapter.
Dennehotso chapter’s proposal of a watering points project was deemed eligible.
Mexican Water Chapter’s projects to construct fiber optic lines, aa Utah broadband project, and a scattered house wiring project were deemed eligible for funds.
Oljato chapter’s west bathroom edition and a phase II project were deemed eligible.
Navajo Mountain chapter’s Rainbow Plateau Arizona Mountain View projects 1 and 2 were deemed eligible as well as a bathroom edition.
Red Mesa chapter’s community powerline extension project and community water line project were deemed eligible.
Teec Nos Pos Four Corners powerline project, bathroom editions, rural addressing project and scattered powerline projects were all deemed eligible as well.
Other proposed projects from chapters have not been reviewed for eligibility as of yet, eligibility of projects does not mean the above projects have yet been funded through available ARPA funds.
At their meeting members of the Navajo Utah Commission also passed two additional resolutions.
One resolution requested the San Juan School District to provide room for a small telecoms structure on their land in Monument Valley. The Utah Education Network and Emery Telecom project needs the structure to complete the extension of broadband to Navajo Mountain.
Navajo Utah Commission Executive Director Clarence Rockwell explained that working with the Navajo Nation to withdraw federal lands is a difficult process, and they’re hopeful to work with the school district to facilitate the project.
The other resolution passed by the commission supported the designation of Utah Navajo Health System as a Navajo Nation authorized designee for the purpose of applying for federal funding to address domestic violence issues.