Delegate Paul Begay and Economic Development Director JT Willie advocate economic development initiatives

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
202-682-7390

For Immediate Release

Delegate Paul Begay and Economic Development Director JT Willie advocate economic development initiatives

WASHINGTON—Navajo Nation Council Delegate Paul Begay (Bodaway/Gap, Coppermine, K’ai’bii’tó, LeChee, Tonalea) and Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development Director JT Willie met this week with members of Congress and their staff, as well as administration officials to convey and represent the Navajo Nation initiatives for economic development. This included tourism, entrepreneurial development and private investment within opportunity zones, and job and economic development for the people and communities affected by the closure of the Navajo Generating Station.

Delegate Begay and Director Willie discussed with congressional staff the potential for new Navajo jobs through increased tourism, uranium cleanup, and Navajo-preference for technical decommissioning jobs. Willie explained Navajo Nation’s participation in local partnerships including Coconino County and the City of Page to build a Coal Resilient Communities Commission.

“Our advocacy in Congress is important to gain support for economic initiatives to help support the people and communities affected by the closure of the Navajo Generating Station,” said Delegate Begay.

Begay and Willie met with Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M. to discuss economic development legislation and tourism and thanked her for her introduction of HR 1900, the Native American Business Incubators Program Act, a bill the congresswoman introduced on March 27. President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer provided a letter of support for this measure.

Begay and Willie also met with officials from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service to discuss opportunity zones and how Navajo can take advantage of these zones so that outside investors can locate their business on the Navajo Nation. The Treasury and IRS verbally committed to conducting tribal consultation on opportunity zone proposed regulations.

The Navajo Nation officials also attended the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on, “Enhancing Tribal Self-Governance and Safety of Indian Roads.” The Navajo Nation has approximately 6,000 miles Bureau of Indian Affairs roads and 4,900 miles of tribal roads.

Finally, they met with National Park Service officials to discuss solutions to permitting issues on the marina at Antelope Point to benefit the Navajo Nation economy and presented on the economic impacts of the Navajo Generating Station. Working with the National Park Service is vital to transition coal workforce to tourism.

These advocacy efforts reflect the joint partnership between the Office of the President and Vice President and the 24th Navajo Nation Council.

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