Naize re-elected as Navajo Nation Speaker by 13-11 vote

By Noel Lyn Smith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, January 28, 2013

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U nder the Great Seal of the Navajo Nation, Council delegate Johnny Naize was re-elected to serve as speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, a two-year position.

After the Council approved legislation confirming Naize as speaker, Navajo Nation Supreme Court Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley administered the oath of office in Navajo to Naize Monday afternoon.

Naize was joined by his wife Barbara Naize, daughter Tia Taylor, and sisters Sarah Naize and Judy Ann Mitchell for the oath.

"I'm just happy," said Naize, a four-term delegate who represents Blue Gap-Tachee/Cottonwood-Tselani/Low Mountain/Nazlini.

According to Title 2, section 285, of the Navajo Nation Code, the speaker presides over the Council and the Naabikiyati Committee, manages the personnel and programs under the Legislative Branch, casts tie breaking votes, calls for special sessions, and recommends the legislative branch's annual operating budget to the Council's Budget and Finance Committee.

According to the Council's process and procedure for selecting the speaker, any delegate may nominate another delegate to serve as speaker.

Each nominee is allowed to make a 15-minute statement on his or her platform for speaker.

In the event there are more than two nominees, a run-off election will be held between the top two candidates.

The final two candidates will be allowed to make a five-minute statement before the final vote.

Along with Naize, the nominees were LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad/Newcomb/San Juan/T'iistoh Sikaad/Tsé Daa K'aan/Upper Fruitland), Nelson BeGaye (Lukachukai/Many Farms/Rock Point/Round Rock/Tsaile-Wheatfields/Tsé Ch'ízhí), Jonathan Hale (Oak Springs/St. Michaels) and Kenneth Maryboy (Aneth/Mexican Water/Red Mesa/Teec Nos Pos/Tólikan).

The results of the first round of voting were Bates receiving seven votes, BeGaye receiving four votes, Hale receiving one vote, Maryboy receiving three votes, and Naize receiving nine votes.

Naize and Bates were the top two finishers in the first round of voting and delivered their five-minute statements from the Council floor.

After the final vote was tallied, Bates received 11 votes and Naize received 13 votes.

"It was tough running against Bates," Naize said then added that he will continue to rely on Bates' expertness as a leader.

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