Ya'at'eeh shi kei doo shi dine'e! My dear relatives and community members, my name is Jamescita Mae Peshlakai. I am an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, my clans are Tangle People Clan, born for the Redhouse Clan. My cheiis are Bitterwater Clan, and nalii are Cliff Dweller Clan. I was born in Tuba City and grew up in northern Arizona, both on and off the Navajo Nation, but always in Dinetah. I currently reside in Cameron.
In 1904, two of my great grandfathers, Chishi Nez and Beshlagaii Atsidii, met with President Theodore Roosevelt to negotiate the annexation of the western part of the Navajo Nation to protect it from settlers. My grandfather and my father devoted much of their lives to serving as tribal officials; I respect and value this legacy in public service.
As a young woman I served in the US Army, 1989-1997, serving in the Persian Gulf War and I recognize the significance of the service of veterans and all those in uniform. Currently, I am a member of the American Legion, Flagstaff, Arizona and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Page, Arizona.
Veterans' rights are of particular interest to me because I have seen firsthand veterans being neglected while waiting for benefits the federal government promised, but were never delivered. I want better treatment for all veterans, especially those who reside in rural Arizona and on Native Nations. Through the benefits of the GI Bill, I earned a bachelor's degree in history and philosophy and now hold a master's degree in education psychology from Northern Arizona University.
As a mother of two daughters, and out of concern for the future of my children and all the children in Arizona, I decided to run for a seat in the newly created Legislative District 7. I bring a different voice to the Arizona House of Representatives, one that understands the diversity of the residents in my district, which includes Native and non-Native Americans; two separate cultures living side by side. I want to bridge the gap between these communities with compassion and diplomacy.
Outside of the legislature I work for a not-for-profit organization providing indigenous agricultural outreach for the USDA on the Navajo Nation. This work reflects my values as a traditional Navajo with respect to my family values, the land, and tribal beliefs.
My priorities during the 2013 legislative session include promoting opportunities for veterans, bringing attention to environmental issues, and protecting natural resources. I also want to see positive changes for LD 7 in the areas of health care, education and economic growth.
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