Letter to the editor: New president has many big jobs ahead

To the editor:

Congratulations to Russell Begaye and Jonathan Nez for their victory! Thank you voters for carrying out your duties to vote. It was the right choice.

With the tribal presidential election over, registered Navajo voters must be prepared, and most importantly, informed about what is at stake for the next four years. Let's hope that the Dineh Nation Council will make it a priority to develop a better working relationship with President-elect Begaye and Vice president-elect Nez.

We've been witness to many unfortunate events and deeds that have caused major damage to our government that will need to be repaired. All of this could have been avoided had the Navajo Election Board done their due diligence at the outset, but they did not. I believe Begaye and Nez would be on the right track if they evaluate this segment in our government and make appropriate changes immediately.

Individual council delegates must be held to the same standards as all others within the Dineh Nation. Otherwise it creates problems. You can't ask employees to follow the laws and rules and then allow delegates to circumvent them and not be held accountable. Begaye and Nez must work with the speaker and find a balance and not allow this to continue.

A stable and forward-looking government always ranks high on a list of issues that Navajo voters want leaders to solve. The council's reckless spending on inconsequential projects that have no bearing on nation-building priorities is a major issue that keeps draining our scarce funds, especially when they draw from the trust fund account. Unemployment and access to high quality jobs are major challenges that Navajo people continue to face. But unless you smooth the working relationships across all three branches, especially between the executive and legislative, these and other long-standing issues will continue to remain as they are and not get solved.

Navajo education, tribal government efficacy and increasing tribal revenues are other issues that are perplexing for Navajo voters. With strong leadership from both Begaye and Nez, they can and must determine their role in addressing these issues. Federal and state governments also have responsibilities in these areas, which Begaye and Nez need to sort out.

It will be consistent with good large government planning if Begaye and Nez were to develop a strategic plan about how they intend to address the issues, then prioritize them so everyone will know how and what will be addressed. Keeping in mind, voters have a right to make their opinions heard. And Begaye and the council would do well to listen.

Wallace Hanley

Window Rock, Arizona

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