Indigenous Lawmakers, County Supervisors Propose Partnership to Push Native & Rural Issues
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov 18, 2020
PHOENIX – Rep. Arlando Teller and Coconino County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair Lena Fowler are calling for the Arizona Legislature's Indigenous Peoples Caucus to work cooperatively with the Indigenous Elected County Supervisors – led by Fowler – to better address infrastructure needs, education, water and response for COVID-19 in tribal and rural communities.
Fowler has long had a vision for a unified local, state and federal voice representing and advocating for Tribal and rural communities. Now Teller is working with her to make it happen, beginning in Arizona.
"People need to know we're talking about collaboration and partnership – it takes a lot of organization to band together to get things done," Fowler said. "This also helps rural Arizona and other rural communities. Pretty much all native representatives serve rural communities, and rural and native issues are pretty much aligned. It's healthcare, water, infrastructure, broadband, the need for better education, it's all there."
Currently Fowler is the President of the National Association of Native County Leaders and Allies, a group of about a dozen Indigenous county supervisors, mostly from the Southwest and Hawaii, but sees much room for growth and formal organization. Teller said he will work with his fellow six-member Indigenous Peoples Caucus chaired by Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson, to formalize a relationship with Fowler's organization.
"Supervisor Fowler and I both agree that the Indigenous People's Caucus and the Indigenous County Supervisors need to do a better job in working closely together in voicing issues and concerns in the communities they serve," said Teller, D-Chinle. "The ultimate goal is to bring in Indigenous Congressional members like Deb Haaland in New Mexico and Sharice Davids in Kansas to meet with us and build that bridge. This effort will help better issues like pandemic relief, transportation, public safety and economic development."