Navajo Nation Speaker LoRenzo Bates was voted to continue as speaker for the remaining two years of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council.
The first item of business for the 23rd Navajo Nation Council, which opened Monday, was the selection of the Navajo Nation Speaker. According to Navajo Nation Code a speaker is selected every two years.
Council Delegate Davis Filfred (Mexican Water/To’likan/Teesnospos/Aneth/Red Mesa) nominated Bates to continue on as speaker and Council Delegate Herman Daniels nominated his fellow Law and Order committee member Otto Tso. Vice Chair for the Law and Order committee Ray Smith (Klagetoh/Wide Ruins/Houck/Lupton/Nahata Dziil) nominated fellow Law and Order member Kee Allen Begay (Tachee/Blue Gap/Many Farms/Nazlini/Tselani/Cottonwood/Low Mountain), but he declined.
“The state task force, in which I enjoy … plus I have five chapters that I’m representing. They need me over there,” said Begay on the reasons he declined the nomination.
Before the vote Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie (Littlewater/ Pueblo Pintado/Torreon/Whitehorse Lake/Baca/Prewitt/Casamero Lake/Ojo Encino/Counselor) proposed an amendment to have the votes be made by open roll call in order to be transparent for the constituents, rather than it being anonymous. The amendment failed.
“I think we are all brave enough to cast our vote,” said Tsosie. “The Navajo public demands it; they want to know where we stand.”
Bates and Tso were both afforded 15 minutes to speak on their platforms before their peers cast their votes. Bates spoke on his experience and the accomplishments of the council within the two years he has been Speaker. He gave credit to the council’s diverse background to develop nine priorities.
“We have worked hard and accomplished many things in our first half of our term,” said Bates. “As your Speaker over the last two years, the 23rd Navajo Nation Council accomplished many objectives by utilizing the resources and expertise of the delegates.”