New leadership elected on the Tohono O’odham Nation

New leadership elected on the Tohono O’odham Nation
Ned Norris Jr. was elected Chairman and Wavalene Saunders will serve as Vice Chairwoman of the Tohono O'odham Nation. (Source: Tohono O'odham Nation)

SELLS, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Results from the Tohono O’odham Nation’s May 25, 2019 election are in and there is new leadership coming in.

The new Chairman will be Ned Norris Jr., while Vice Chairwoman will be Wavalene Saunders, both will serve four-year terms as the highest elected officials on the Nation. Elections were also held for Legislative Council and District Council seats. All new officials will be sworn into office on June 14.

More than 3,300 ballots were cast in the election, and the Norris/Saunders team received 59.5 percent for a total of 1,997 votes.

“Wavalene and I are humbled and deeply grateful to O’odham voters for the overwhelming support we have received," said Chairman-elect Ned Norris. "We are ready to get started on day one, fully committed to working with our Legislative Council and others in the best interest of our people. By working together, we will address the challenges facing the Nation and achieve positive opportunities for our people.”

“Thank you to the voters! The entire election process has been a wonderful experience and we are honored to represent the Tohono O’odham Nation," said Vice Chairwoman-elect Wavalene Saunders. "We look forward to serving the people and focusing on critical issues such as education, health care, youth programs and many others.”

Chairman-elect Norris and Vice Chairwoman-elect Saunders bring a wealth of experience to their new roles that will ensure a seamless transition. They previously held the positions of Chairman and Vice Chairwoman (2007 to 2015); and have decades of service working for the Nation in a variety of other positions.

The Tohono O’odham Nation has nearly 35,000 members that have lived in southern Arizona and northern Mexico since time immemorial. Today their reservation spans 2.8 million acres in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, and includes nearly 75 miles of the U.S./Mexico international border.

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