The Navajo Nation community of Leupp is in an ideal position as far as future development is concerned. This is the belief of Aresta LaRusso, herself a Diné entrepreneur who is running for Secretary/Treasurer of the Leupp Chapter.
LaRusso, who has five years of political experience in the northern Arizona region, understands the importance of economic development to reservation communities such as Leupp. “With the welfare reform which will be kicking in for the reservation in the next few years, we need to do all we can to develop for the future. First of all, we need to finish the land use plan for the community, meet the requirements to be a certified chapter under the Local Governance Act, and then focus on putting in infrastructure, because with infrastructure there is a better chance of enticing local businesses and manufacturers to the area. The labor pool is there, ready and able to work, and with opportunities close to home the high turnover rate associated with long distance travel to jobs will be alleviated.”
She also feels it is important that the communities of Leupp and Flagstaff be able to develop a better working relationship. Although Flagstaff is the regional economic hub of the area, Leupp is already cemented with much of the area’s children attending school in Flagstaff. Further, many Leupp residents are employed in Flagstaff.
With experience won through her position on the board of directors for the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, the Flagstaff Mayoral Advisory Committee and almost six years of owning her own business, LaRusso knows that she is well-qualified for the position.
Apparently, many in Leupp agree. The Leupp community already recognized LaRusso’s participation on the Flagstaff Regional Land Use and Transportation Committee and appointed her to their own Leupp Area Land Use Planning Committee. Community members and leaders, both past and present, have taken this recognition a step further by asking LaRusso to run for the position of Secretary/Treasurer.
Having been involved in the chapter meetings and functions, LaRusso has had the opportunity to analyze the positive qualities of this community for future development. “I see Leupp’s potential for development. After all, Interstate 40 is only half an hour away, and with an airport only 45 minutes away, Leupp is in a unique position to succeed.”
“I believe that the position of Secretary/Treasurer is much more than just taking minutes. You are there to advocate on behalf of your community and to better your community.”
This belief led LaRusso to co-found the Coconino Inter-tribal Council which has won the support of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors. The purpose of the council is to provide advice and to advocate on behalf of the County’s Native American population.
The special election will be held on December 19th. LaRusso urges chapter members to come out for the election. “I would ask community members to allow me to work in their behalf not only on, but off, the reservation.”