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President Shelly at UN
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA - With nearly one year in office, Navajo President Ben Shelly last week looked back on the accomplishments of his administration during 2011.
"This year, the Navajo Nation has had many good blessings and changes. I signed the Title 2 amendments creating a whole new government. I worked to create open communications and transparency in my administration, along with initiating and completing projects for the people of the Navajo Nation. All the while, I created and protected jobs for our people," said President Ben Shelly.
One of President Shelly's successes this past year came in the form of town hall style meetings held across the Navajo Nation. The Shelly-Jim administration held meetings at five different chapters of which hundreds of people attended. The town hall meetings helped establish more precise goals to help meet the needs of the Navajo citizens.
Also, President Shelly worked to create a safer environment while creating jobs for the Navajo Nation and its citizens. Three new multi-judicial complexes are being built in Tuba City, Kayenta and Crownpoint. While similar facilities in Window Rock, Chinle, Dilkon and Shiprock are in initial planning stages. These complexes are planned to house law enforcement agents, detention areas and judicial facilities.
While President Shelly worked to bring money to the Navajo Nation for new projects, he also safeguarded $125 million of Navajo program dollars that otherwise might have been cut. He kept funding levels intact for the Navajo Housing Authority, the Navajo Abandoned Mine Land program, Navajo Head Start and the Navajo Irrigation Project.
Additionally, President Shelly broke ground for two more Navajo gaming facilities, located in Twin Arrows, near Flagstaff, and Northern Edge, near Farmington, New Mexico. Northern Edge is expected to open this month.
The Shelly-Jim administration also found ways to maximize existing money to help more Navajo people. Using creative budgeting, President Shelly increased spending for direct service programs by $4.5 million.
Another success story was for the first time a Navajo uranium mine was deemed "Clean Closure" by the US Environmental Protection Agency. After the EPA spent approximately $4.5 million reclaiming a closed mine near Tuba City, Arizona, the federal agency called the mine a "Clean Closure," making it the first mine on the Navajo Nation to achieve such status.
President Shelly also initiated and coordinated efforts to develop a supplemental comprehensive draft of the Navajo Nation Energy Policy, a piece of legislation that would create the framework for policy regarding Navajo energy.
The Shelly-Jim administration also developed the Navajo tribal identification program so that Navajo citizens have an option to carry an identification card to show proof of their tribal citizenship.
While the administration still has a lot of work to do, President Shelly looks forward to 2012 to gain more ground on building a self-sufficient sovereign Navajo Nation.
"Looking into the next year, we will continue to create job opportunities for our Navajo people and fostering a business friendly environment on the reservation. We will continue to protect Navajo money at the federal level while preparing for challenges that may lie ahead," President Shelly added.
posted January 3, 2011 6:00 am est
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