2/5/2013 12:07:00 PM Shelly praises cooperation between Nation and New Mexico
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly delivered a message of unity while outlining different bills he supports during an address to the New Mexico Joint Legislative Session Friday afternoon.
"We must find new ways to partner and address issues that are important to our constituents. We must grow our economies, create jobs and build infrastructure while maintaining basic services. Let's all work together and do our best to serve the people that put us here. We owe it to them," Shelly said during a 10-minute speech.
Shelly also outlined some bills in the New Mexico legislature that he supports. Senate Bill 76 would provide $1.44 million to New Mexico State University so they can grow fresh produce. Then the New Mexico Department of Agriculture would buy the fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution throughout the state for school lunches.
"We have Navajo Agriculture Products Industries that grows fresh produce, and I see a partnership that could serve both our interests, if this measure passed," Shelly said, adding that other Navajo Nation enterprises could be used to help some state projects.
Shelly also offered his support for House Bill 28, which would allow students at tribal colleges to qualify for New Mexico's Lottery Scholarship. Under current provisions, students who attend tribally owned colleges can't qualify for the scholarship.
"We contribute to the lottery and our students should have the same opportunities as other young scholars in New Mexico," Shelly said.
He closed his remarks by reminding leaders that to make progress, the leaders have to work together.
"In that spirit, let us continue to work together. The challenges we face could be better met if we work in a unified manner. Now is the time we must work together and see how we can find creative ways to establish new partnerships that serve all of our communities," Shelly said.