SHIPROCK — Only one Navajo Nation Council delegate surpassed the general election to win reelection in Shiprock.

Pete Ken Atcitty unofficially took the most votes Tuesday, receiving 1,297, or 18.9 percent of the total votes. The new delegate electees are GloJean Todacheene, who received 1,206 votes, or 17.6 percent, and Leonard Anthony with 1,167 votes, or 17 percent.

Just missing reelection was Wallace Charley, who garnered 1,134 votes, falling short by 33 votes of keeping his seat. Donald Benally finished behind Charley with 1,117 votes and the other incumbent Richard Begaye received 926 votes.

"I'm just really surprised," Atcitty said about finishing on top, and earning four more years as a council delegate. "I knew it was going to be a close race because in the (primary) election, 60 votes separated the top five. It was really an open race."

One of the initiatives he said he plans to continue working on is getting Shiprock chapter certified and trying to bring gaming to the chapter.

Anthony, an education consultant, said he was thankful for the voters.

"Right now, I'm thankful for the voters. They wanted that change of leadership," he said.

Like Atcitty, he wants to focus on getting the chapter certified so the chapter wouldn't have to be completely dependent on central Navajo government for money.

"If we get the chapter certified, it'll be alright," he said.


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Todacheene, Shiprock chapter vice president, said she hopes that her accomplishments of being elected both council delegate and San Juan County commissioner could open more doors for woman candidates.

"I have opened the flood gates," she said.

As she looks to serve on the Navajo Council, she said she plans to lobby other delegates to begin using the Permanent Trust Fund to help all chapters.

"We have a chance to utilize that money for the needs of the people," she said, adding that she would use the money for a new substation in Shiprock, infrastructure and other needs in the community.

While the top three candidates were pleased, Atcitty said Shiprock lost some council experience without the reelection of Charley and Begaye.

"It's a tough thing, but it's a part of politics," Atcitty said about Charley and Begaye losing their seats.

"They had a working relationship (in Window Rock). We lost some experience," he said. "The council elects will have to build that relationship now."

Nonetheless, he said he is looking forward to working with the new delegates to help improve Shiprock.

"We all have the best interests of the community and chapter (in mind)," he said.

Cynthia Dayish, 33, of Shiprock, said she was pleased with the outcome of the delegate race.

"I think the results of the council delegate race for a lot of people came down to today," she said about how Shiprock voters voted.

Hogback

The race for council delegate for Hogback wasn't as close as Shiprock.

Incumbent Ervin Keeswood easily beat out challenger Melvin Kellywood. Keeswood received 453 votes, or 73 percent, while Kellywood received 164 votes, about 27 percent.

Keeswood said he is thankful for the voters who voted, regardless of whether they chose him or not.

"It's very important to practice what we have; the right to vote," he said.

He added he plans to work toward getting gaming established in Hogback. Also, he has plans to begin construction on some houses for the elderly near the chapter house.

Upper Fruitland

LoRenzo Bates ran unopposed in Upper Fruitland.

He said he is going to work on getting a new chapter house for Upper Fruitland and a senior citizens center. He also has plans on trying to build a fire station.

"This coming spring, I'm going to work on a fire station for San Juan, Upper Fruitland and Nenahnezad chapters," he said.

He added that by December, Upper Fruitland should become land use certified. Soon after that we'll get certified for the five management system," he said.