Special election decides open seat on Navajo Nation Council

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Carl Roessel Slater was elected on Sept. 24 to fill a vacant seat on the Navajo Nation Council.

FARMINGTON — Voters in five chapters in Arizona have elected a new delegate to represent them on the Navajo Nation Council.

A special election was conducted on Sept. 24 for the open seat to represent the Lukachukai, Rock Point, Round Rock, Tsaile-Wheatfields and Tsé Ch'ízhí chapters.

Five contenders were vying to succeed Nelson BeGaye, who resigned from the council in July due to health reasons.

The unofficial results released on Sept. 25 by the Navajo Election Administration showed Round Rock Chapter member Carl Roessel Slater was elected.

Slater received 936 votes, followed by Herman Largo receiving 365 votes, Willis T. Becenti receiving 287 votes, Jaye R. Tom receiving 137 votes and Kuhyonre E. Nata'ani receiving 101 votes.

Slater said in a Sept. 25 telephone interview that he is indebted to those who cast ballots for him and he appreciated them for trusting his campaign message.

This is the first time Slater will hold an elected office, but he has experience working for the tribal government.

He recently served as the director of communications and government affairs for the Office of the Speaker. He resigned in August to campaign for tribal council.

Slater also worked at the senior public information officer for the Navajo Division of Transportation. He later became manager for the division's Department of Airports Management.

He is the grandson of well-known educators, Robert and Ruth Roessel, who founded the Rough Rock Demonstration School and Navajo Community College, now known as Diné College.

According to the Navajo Election Code, the new delegate will be sworn in and assume the office 10 days after the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors certifies the results of the election or at the end of any disputes concerning the election.

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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Correction: A earlier version misidentified Carl Roessel Slater's chapter membership. That has been corrected.