Navajo woman appointed to Arizona House of Representatives


The Apache County Board of Supervisors has appointed a Navajo Nation citizen to fill an Arizona state representative seat left vacant after fellow Navajo Nation member Arlando Teller resigned to join President Joe Biden’s administration.

Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren will now represent the state’s Legislative District 7, which encompasses a large swath of Arizona’s northeast and is bigger in land area than Indiana.

“The Navajo Nation looks forward to a collaborative relationship with newly-appointed Arizona representative Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren,” Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon said in a statement. “We are pleased to see the seat held by a member of the Navajo Nation maintained with this appointment, but we also know Mrs. Blackwater-Nygren will work to serve the entire district.”

The Democrats will again have 29 seats in the 60-member state House of Representatives. Blackwater-Nygren will join Democratic state Rep. Myron Tsosie, another Navajo Nation member, to become the second representative from the 7th District.

Blackwater-Nygren graduated from Stanford University in 2017 and received her law degree at Arizona State University in 2020. She will serve the remainder of Teller’s second term, which ends in 2022.

“Wonderful to see another Native woman in leadership,” tweeted Democratic Rep. Debra Haaland, Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. “Congratulations, Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren! I’m in your corner and look forward to seeing your work in the Arizona Legislature.”

Teller had resigned in January to become the deputy assistant secretary for tribal affairs in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Blackwater-Nygren will be sworn in at a later date by the Arizona Secretary of State.

“I thank the Apache County Board of Supervisors for entrusting me with this duty,” said Blackwater-Nygren in a statement. “I’m really excited to work with everybody in this district. I’m ready to get to work and will do my best to represent all people of Arizona’s Legislative District 7.”

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.