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ELECTION 2014: Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Larry Duncan want to represent seven Northern Agency chapters

James Fenton
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Two candidates — Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Larry Duncan — are vying for the council delegate seat for the Beclabito, Cove, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi, Red Valley, Sheep Springs, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í chapters.

All of the Northern Agency chapters are in New Mexico, except for two in Arizona, Red Valley and Cove. Before, David L. Tom represented the chapters. He has since resigned from the council after pleading no contest in the tribe's ongoing discretionary fund case.

Crotty, director of the Diné Policy Institute at Diné College in Tsaile, Ariz., is making her first run for a council delegate seat. In the Aug. 26 primary, she won 576 votes to Duncan's 663 after an official count from the primary election.

Duncan, 64, is a former Navajo Nation executive director for the Division of Community Development, a certified commercial building inspector and holds an architecture degree from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

In 1993, Duncan was a defendant, along with businessman Frank Talker and former Navajo Nation interim President Leonard Haskie, on charges of misusing tribal funds in a kickback scheme. Duncan was under house arrest and released after the case for time served. Duncan declined to comment on the case, except to emphasize what he would do if elected.

“I want to help my people in those areas — mainly roads, infrastructure, building projects. I want to be instrumental,” Duncan said. “I've worked with the government as a project manager with the Navajo Nation Design and Engineering Services Department in Window Rock. I feel that I know the tribal government, and I'll be a good legislator.”

Crotty, who is from Sheep Springs, said she was inspired to run, in part, by her grandmother's wish that she return to help the people of the Navajo Nation after she earned a master's degree in American Indian Studies and Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

After months of campaigning, Crotty, 35, said what she hears most from supporters is a need to elect officials who people can trust.

“I hear that everywhere I stop,” Crotty said. “People in the community want trust restored, with strict, ethical laws and practices so they know that the people's resources are safe. People are tired of the misuse of money.”

Duncan's campaign theme is "Progress with momentum," a platform he said is supported by his background in construction and community development projects.

“I would really get in there and move projects along, especially for seniors and the children,” Duncan said. “There's a real dire need, but before that, you need economic development and work out a master plan and bring all parties together.”

Though she eschews a formal platform in her run, Crotty said her experience with grantwriting and policy issues orients her toward accomplishing projects, not political posturing.

“I never say I have a platform. Instead, I say, ‘No promises — just action.' I believe in a plan of action,” Crotty said. “We're running a really strong, positive campaign, and all the support we're getting from community members, going house-to-house in the region to get first-hand knowledge of the issues the folks we've visited with are facing, is amazing.”