Saturday, July 20, 2024

Former President Jonathan Nez continues to push for Congress

Former President Jonathan Nez continues to push for Congress

WINDOW ROCK – Former President Jonathan Nez plans to advocate more than his opponent, U.S. Rep. Eli Crane, for the state’s 2nd Congressional District in northeastern Arizona.

“They have yet to hear a voice like mine,” said Nez, who is from Shonto, Arizona. “They have yet to hear a voice like ours.”

Former President Jonathan Nez continues to push for Congress

Supporters hold up signs during a campaign stop in Western Navajo for former President Jonathan Nez, a Democratic candidate running for Arizona’s Congressional District 2.

Nez announced his candidacy for Congress last October. He was disappointed with the political situation in the capital and the role of Arizona representatives in it.

“My opponent, Eli Crane, does not even live in the district,” Nez said. “I was born in the district, I was raised in the district, I went to college in the district, I’ve served 18 plus years in the district.”

He believes the district needs a voice that best represents the whole district rather than partially.

“A voice that understands the needs of the communities,” he added. “The need for basic infrastructure from ground water supply, electricity, road improvements, telecommunications, homes, and bridges.”

The district includes Apache, Coconino, Gila, Navajo, and Yavapai counties, as well as portions of Graham, Maricopa, Mohave, and Pinal counties.

Mere image, meeting district’s needs

Born and raised in District 2, Jonathan Nez said Eli Crane has yet to bring any dollars back in direct appropriation to the district.

As taxpayers, Nez said that money should be directed into infrastructure.

“I tried my best to help everybody,” Nez said as the Navajo Nation president.

Now, Nez is directing his mindset toward advocating for immigration reform, lowering costs, addressing the opioid crisis, protecting Arizona’s water and climate, putting Arizona first, and reproductive rights.

If elected, Nez said he would be the first Native American to run and make it to the general elections.

“We’ve had many Native Americans (run) for office.” However, many others, such as Derrick Watchman, Jack Jackson Jr., Mary Kim Titla, Wenona Benally, and many others, have not made it thus far.“They never passed the primary,” Nez said.

Although Nez has no primary candidate, he is the most viable candidate to beat the “incumbent” Eli Crane.

Nez believes Crane is not advocating for or meeting the district’s needs, which he said he hears from the communities he has visited thus far.

“There’s a lot of great things that I’ve learned from being the President of the Navajo Nation,” he added. “We’re going to hit the ground running right after the election and advocating for our people.”

Nez has learned from being the former president that “people want to be heard” as people become frustrated with the “do nothing Congress.”

He added that no one wants to work together as a bipartisan on “my way or the highway.”

‘Listen to the people’

“You have to go into these communities and listen to the (people),” Jonathan Nez said. “Leaders need to shut their mouths and listen.”

Out of the 22 tribes in Arizona, 14 are within District 2, which Nez said people are registering to vote because of his run for office.

Of all past Natives who have run for Congress, Nez has surpassed fundraising.

Nez would represent 57,000 square feet in District 2, twice the size of the Navajo Nation.

According to Nez’s website, as the former president, Nez led Diné through the pandemic, secured funds to construct new healthcare facilities and homes for veterans, invested in public safety and hired new police officers, bolstered infrastructure, and many other things.

“I will fight hard for the issues that are important to my district and all of Arizona,” Nez said.

Nez is the son of Mable H. Nez and the late John H. Nez. He is Áshįįhí and born for Ta’neeszahnii. His maternal grandfather is Tódích’íi’nii, and his paternal grandfather is Táchii’nii.

The primary election dates are July 30, 2024, and the general election is Nov. 5, 2024.


About The Author

Boderra Joe

Boderra Joe is a reporter and photographer at Navajo Times. She has written for Gallup Sun and Rio Grande Sun and has covered various beats. She received second place for Sports Writing for the 2018 New Mexico Better Newspaper Awards. She is from Baahazhł’ah, New Mexico.

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