Five Native Americans join county Democratic Party

Navajo Times | Aaron Gardner
Sonlatsa Jim-Martin speaks about the importance of media presence for the Democratic Party during a meeting of the Democratic Party in Gallup on April 4.


Five Native Americans sat alongside their colleagues, all members of the Democratic Party of McKinley County, at their first meeting on April 4.

The State Central Committee now includes four Navajos and one Zuni. The Navajos are Alray Nelson, Anna Rondon, Albert Shirley and the incoming vice chair, Sonlatsa Jim-Martin. The Zuni is Arden Kucate.

They sat next to Chairman Cas Hoefman and SCC members Amit Pande, Liz Hannum and Jo Ann Benenati and outgoing secretary Deanna Crask-Stone.

They discussed outreach, particularly to the Navajo Nation and other Native American communities.

A member of the audience asked what kind of penetration their outreach gets into these communities. He expressed doubt that social media campaigns will reach grandmas and grandpas living away from infrastructure.

Hoefman said outreach includes visits to chapter houses, phone banking, and other means.

“This is one of the many ways that we reach out to people,” he said.

Another member of the audience suggested that putting shoes to pavement might help get things done like inviting people to come to Democratic meetings.

Local lawyer Barry Klopfer gave a suggestion to add to the social media outreach.

“I would think a Twitter account would be very helpful,” said Barry Klopfer, a lawyer.

Jim-Martin stressed that a human touch is needed and suggested a public relations person.

“We’re talking about our Facebook page, and we’re talking about our website,” she said. “But, I think we really need a good, solid PR person.”

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Categories: Politics

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Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at