Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announces new running mate


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Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announces new running mate

Monday, August 8, 2022

Indianz.Com

President Jonathan Nez of the Navajo Nation has a new running mate as he seeks a second term in office. During a campaign event on Monday, Nez announced Chad Abeyta as his vice presidential pick. His running mate is a veteran of the US Air Force who served three tours of duty overseas. “President Nez, I appreciate you having this revealing here at the Veteran’s Memorial Park because I’m a veteran too,” Abeyta said to applause in Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the Navajo Nation. Abeyta, 33, hails from the New Mexico portion of the reservation. He received a bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico and a master’s of law from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Since completing his law degree, Abeyta has worked for the tribe as an attorney in the Navajo Nation Office of Legislative Counsel. Nez described his running mate as an example of a person who has “come home to help their people.” “That’s the future of the Navajo Nation,” Nez said at the announcement, which was broadcast on social media. “The door is open, young people, for all of you to return home.”

Nez is completing his first term as president on the largest reservation in the United States. He took office in January 2019 after previously serving one term as vice president under former president Russell Begaye. Nez’s selection of Abeyta as his new running mate confirms the exit of Myron Lizer, the current vice president, from the president’s political efforts. Earlier in 2022, Lizer announced his intention to run for a seat in the US Congress as a Republican in Arizona. His candidacy did not receive enough support to secure a spot on the ballot. During that time, Lizer took steps to distance his social media profile from his position as vice president of the Navajo Nation. Nez came in first in a presidential primary that took place on August 2, according to unofficial results from the Navajo Election Administration. He will face Buu Nygren in the general election on November 8. Nez and Nygren received the most votes in the primary, out of a crowded field of 15 candidates. The latter announced his vice presidential running mate on Monday as well. Nygren’s pick, announced from Window Rock, is noteworthy. If his ticket wins, Richelle Montoya would be the first woman to serve as vice president of the Navajo Nation. Montoya hails from the New Mexico portion of the reservation. She serves as president of the Torreon/Star Lake Chapter. The vice presidential position is not a separately elected office on the reservation, which spans the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

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