Navajo president says door to his administration is open

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez encouraged good communication between his administration and the tribal council in his first State of the Nation address on Monday.

"I want to let you know that we are here to work together with the council, and we look forward to sitting face to face on sharing the priorities of our constituents," Nez said about the team of division directors and executive staff members he has assembled with Vice President Myron Lizer.

Nez added that the door to his administration is open to the delegates.

"Let's work together to make it a better future for our Navajo people," the president said.

Nez almost did not address the council, since delegates supported Delegate Otto Tso's motion to accept a written report by the president's office seconds before Nez, Lizer, their wives and members of the administration stepped into the council chamber.

Although the written report was accepted, Speaker Seth Damon allowed 10 minutes for Nez, Lizer, first lady Phefelia Herbert-Nez and second lady Dottie Lizer to speak to the council.

The written report has information about the cabinet members and a list of priorities for the administration.

Details about the priorities were not provided, but they were categorized as family, behavioral and mental health, housing, economic development, budget and finance, education and cultural language preservation, governmental affairs and policy, public safety, infrastructure, and agriculture and land issues.

The report calls on the administration, the council and the judicial branch to review the current government structure to improve efficiency and spending by eliminating the duplication of services.

"There is a likelihood that our nation will have decreased revenues, so it is in the hands of us as leaders to work together to address these issues," the report states.

The 15-page document also provides information about the 14 individuals selected as division directors and presidential office staff.

Since announcing the first batch of nominees on Jan. 15, the administration has added John King to lead the Navajo Nation Veterans Administration. King is a Navy veteran who served as commander for the Iyanbito Chapter, located east of Gallup. His professional experience includes working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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