Navajo presidential hopefuls select running mates from NM - Albuquerque Journal

Navajo presidential hopefuls select running mates from NM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Two men vying for the Navajo Nation presidency announced their running mates Monday, choosing candidates from the New Mexico portion of the reservation to broaden their appeal.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez selected Chad Abeyta, a 33-year-old political newcomer who is an Air Force veteran and works as an attorney in the tribe’s legislative branch. Nez said Abeyta has strong family values and a bootstrap mentality, and highlighted that Abeyta returned to the reservation after finishing college.

“I’m honored to join this team,” Abeyta said. “I bring to the table leadership skills, critical thinking, and I plan to use creative solutions to addressing a lot of these things.”

Buu Nygren picked Richelle Montoya, the 45-year-old elected leader of the Torreon/Star Lake Chapter and a school board member whose husband is an Army veteran. Nygren highlighted Montoya as a woman and a mother who will challenge the status quo and ensure that ordinary Navajos’ voices are heard.

“I feel so humbled to be in the position that I’m in, and I really hope this will bring more young women into leadership roles in our community and our government,” Montoya said.

No woman has been elected as president or vice president of the Navajo Nation, which has the largest land mass by far of any Native American tribe in the U.S. and is the second most populous. The 27,000-square-mile reservation extends into New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

Nygren is not the first to choose a woman as a running mate. Former Navajo presidential candidate Chris Deschene selected Fannie Atcitty in 2014, but Deschene was disqualified from the race over a language fluency requirement that later was amended.

Nez and Nygren will face off in the November general election. They were the top two vote-getters among 15 presidential hopefuls, including seven women, in last week’s primary election. The results are unofficial until they’re certified by the tribe’s election board, which is expected to meet in the coming days.

Nez and Nygren announced their running mates in the nonpartisan race in front of the sandstone structure that gives the tribal capital of Window Rock in Arizona its name.

Selecting a running mate from a different region of the reservation is a strategic move to balance a presidential ticket. Abeyta is from Alamo, and Montoya is from Torreon – two communities on the New Mexico side of the reservation.

Nygren, who has a background in construction management, grew up near the Arizona-Utah border on the Navajo Nation. He was a vice presidential candidate in 2018.

Nez, who served as a tribal lawmaker and the tribe’s vice president before being elected to his first term as president, is from Shonto, Arizona.

More Journal Polls

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Navajo presidential hopefuls select running mates from NM


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
No limit: Channel Tres brings tour to Electric Playhouse
ABQnews Seeker
The creative process is one that ... The creative process is one that intrigues Channel Tres. 'I'm always creating and making sure family is good,' he says. 'Creating and writing is ...
2
APD investigating fatal stabbing
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police are investigating a fatal ... Albuquerque police are investigating a fatal stabbing on Sunday afternoon. Officers were called to the area of Kathryn and Maderia SE on a reported ...
3
Gov. pledges $1.1M for film school, studio in Raton
ABQnews Seeker
The film industry continues to grow ... The film industry continues to grow in New Mexico. It's always been a goal to have film facilities in every point of the state. ...
4
Longer sentences have failed to reduce violent crime
ABQnews Seeker
Spiro Agnew, who served as vice ... Spiro Agnew, who served as vice president under Richard Nixon, memorably denounced the administration's enemies for their 'pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of ...
5
Outdoor rec projects receive $2M+ in state funding
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico Economic Development Department's ... The New Mexico Economic Development Department's Outdoor Recreation Division handed out more than $2 million to 20 projects statewide through its Outdoor Recreation Trails+ ...
6
Rain or shine, students fight for normalcy
ABQnews Seeker
Homecoming returns after years of pandemic ... Homecoming returns after years of pandemic impacts
7
NM to be part of 'clean freight corridor'
ABQnews Seeker
Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout ... Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout Southwest
8
Judge was a 'very generous and caring person'
ABQnews Seeker
Friends and colleagues describe Judge James ... Friends and colleagues describe Judge James A. Parker as a gentleman
9
Climate-fueled wildfires worsen dangers for struggling fish
ABQnews Seeker
A summer-long mission comes to a ... A summer-long mission comes to a quick end as cutthroat trout rescued earlier this year are released into new digs