WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly filed papers May 16 to run for a final term as president of the Navajo Nation. He and Vice President Rex Lee Jim formally announced their run for a new term in back to back appearances at their respective chapters last weekend.
"It takes tough leadership to face the tough challenges," Shelly said as he filed for candidacy at the election administration alongside Martha, his wife of 49 years.
Shelly pointed out tough issues the administration has faced including range management reform, condemned government buildings, the water settlement, and the more than 75,000 feral horses.
"Let's put the skunk on the table because we are facing the tough ones, working together to resolve years of neglect," Shelly said.
Shelly said the Nation is working together to make change work.
"We are announcing our vision for a second term this weekend at our 'Road to Victory' rallies at Thoreau and Rock Point," he said. "We have made many tough decisions in getting the job done. We used the veto pen, for instance, to maintain a healthy balance in government savings. The people gave us the power to act responsibly and we have taken great trust."
The current administration's priorities over the last four years included health, education, economic prosperity, governance, and infrastructure. The vice president spoke over the weekend on progress made in health and education.
"We want people to know, early, we are a team," Jim said. "It takes a team to make a difference. We are ready as we seek another term to finish what we have begun."
The Shelly-Jim campaign began the festivities in Thoreau, New Mexico on May 17 with a special tribute to the veterans in observance of Armed Forces day.
On May 18, the Shelly-Jim campaign moved to the vice president's home chapter at Rock Point.
Candidates who had filed paperwork with the Navajo Nation Election Administration as of May 8 were Joe Shirley, Chinle Chapter; Myron McLaughlin, Chinle Chapter; Christopher C. Deschene, LeChee Chapter; Dale Edison Tsosie, LeChee Chapter; Donald Benally, Shiprock Chapter and Kenneth Maryboy, Mexican Water Chapter.
The six have all filed their paperwork and the election administration has certified that they are eligible to run for president in the upcoming elections, according to the election administration. Four more people have picked up presidential application packets but have not filed their paperwork to be certified.
The deadline to file paperwork is May 28.
Elections on the Navajo Nation take place every four years and include the Navajo Nation president, vice president, Navajo Nation Council, Election Board, Navajo Nation Board of Education and Kayenta Township Commissioners.
The filing fee for president is $1,500, tribal Council is $500 and the fee for the election board and the Kayenta Township Comission is $200.
Paperwork is available in Crownpoint, Shiprock, Chinle, Tuba City and Window Rock.
To be eligible to run for president or vice president a person must be 30 years old and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, according to tribal law. The candidate must speak and understand the Navajo language fluently and read and write in English. The candidate must be a registered voter with no conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving crimes of deceit, untruthfulness or dishonesty in the last five years. The candidate cannot have been indicted by a federal grand jury at the time the candidate files application to run for office.
To be eligible to run for the tribal council a candidate must be at least 25 years old and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. The candidate must be able to speak and understand Navajo and English. The candidate must be a registered voter in the chapter they seek to represent. The candidate must not have any convictions of a felony or misdemeanor involving crimes of deceit, untruthfulness and dishonesty in the last five years.
The primary election is Aug. 26 and the general election is Nov. 4.