FORT MCDOWELL YAVAPAI NATION — Today, Marco Lopez, Democratic candidate for governor, spoke with the leadership of the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona (ITAA), a “sister” organization of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), one of the largest and longest running inter tribal organizations in the United States. In his message to tribal leaders, Marco Lopez laid out major commitments to Native communities in Arizona to defend voting rights, protect water resources, improve health care equity, promote economic development and maintain consistent, open communication when elected.
“We are here on the ancestral homelands of American Indian tribes that have inhabited this land for centuries, and as governor, I look forward to partnering with the leaders of these sovereign nations to create policies based on our shared values that will benefit all of us,” said Marco Lopez, candidate for governor. “By working together we will be able to reach common goals and secure a safer and more prosperous future for everyone.”
Marco Lopez announced his support for legislation that will:
Defend voting rights
Access to polling sites is a recurring problem for Indigenous communities and this needs to change. If all citizens are not fully able to participate in the state electoral processes because they cannot vote then the principles of democracy are seriously weakened for all of us. The Lopez Administration commits to increasing access to the ballot box for native communities so that all tribal citizens can fully and easily participate in our democracy.
Protect water resources
No matter where we live in Arizona, we can all agree that water is life. Tribes are taking an active role in solving Arizona’s water crisis by bringing solutions to the ongoing drought situation that we all face. In the Lopez Administration, traditional Indigenous knowledge will be valued and incorporated into sustainable responses to water management and tribal leaders will be at the decision making table, having their voices heard during government-to-government interfaces.
Improve health care equity
The recent public health emergency brought focus to the vast health disparities experienced by tribes. The Lopez Administration will take a comprehensive approach to eliminating health disparities and creating health equity within tribal communities.
Promote economic development
As a small business owner himself, Marco knows how important it is to support small businesses in rural communities so that those communities can thrive. The Lopez Administration commits to investing in the economic development of native communities so that they can continue to grow and prosper.
Value Communication and Representation
As an executive, Marco values transparency and accountability. That’s why he’s committed to holding quarterly regional Tribal Roundtable meetings throughout tribal nations to hear directly from communities and address issues head-on. He has also committed to building a cabinet that reflects Arizona’s immense diversity, from political appointees to staff hires.
Across Arizona, there are 22 federally recognized tribes that each have their own individual and respective tribal governments, tribal enterprise operations, reservation lands and tribal communities. These communities operate as sovereign nations and control approximately 28 percent of the land base within Arizona. Many times tribal nations are the largest employers within the counties where they reside.
“Tribes welcome dialogue with candidates for all offices and in particular, the office of Governor of Arizona,” said Bernadine Burnette, President of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. “We welcome Candidate Marco Lopez to address Tribal Leaders and share his plans to continue to protect the right to vote for Tribal members in Arizona as well as many other important policy issues.”
Marco Lopez’s commitments to native communities is a part of his broader vision for everyone to be able to Make it in Arizona. So far, Marco has released plans to rebuild our education system, lift up workers and working families, protect the LGBTQ+ community and create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive state. His campaign will continue to roll out more proposals in the coming months.
Marco Lopez is running for governor because he believes in the Promise of Arizona – the promise that if you work hard, play by the rules, and treat people with respect then you can make it here in our state. It’s this idea that led Marco’s parents to immigrate to Arizona from Mexico nearly 50 years ago. They didn’t start out with much, but they dreamed that Marco and his sisters could do better than they did. That’s just what happened—Marco and his sisters were the first generation in their family to go to college. Once Marco graduated from the University of Arizona, he knew he had to give back. At just 21-years-old he ran for mayor of his hometown of Nogales and won, becoming one of the youngest mayors in the country. After winning two mayoral elections, Governor Napolitano asked Marco to serve at the state level as Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce where he oversaw critical trade relationships in the state. Next, President Obama asked Marco to serve at the national level, where he oversaw a $13 billion budget and 60,000 people. In 2011, Marco left the administration to start his own small business here in Arizona just like his parents had done 40 years before. Over the past ten years Connect2Compete has brought high speed internet to one million low income families nationally, and in Mesa, AZ, SkyBridge Arizona is on track to create 15,000 quality Arizona jobs. Marco is running for governor because he believes the Promise of Arizona is still possible, but for too many people in our state today it’s out of reach. Marco has the leadership experience in the private and public sector to make that promise of opportunity that brought his parents to Arizona a reality for everyone. For more information, please visit www.marcolopez.com.