Monday, July 1, 2013

Senator Jackson appointed to U.S. State Department position

Will resign seat to begin work in D.C.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Today Senator Jack C. Jackson Jr. announced he will resign his seat in Legislative District 7 on July 12 to accept a White House appointment to the U.S. Department of State.

Sen. Jackson
Senator Jackson will serve in Washington, D.C. as Senior Advisor and Liaison for Native American Affairs in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs (OES), within the State Department's Office of Environmental Quality and Transboundary Issues (EQT).

In this newly created position, Senator Jackson will advise the OES and the State Department on consultation with Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and Executive Order 13175.

Senator Jackson leaves a legacy in the Arizona Legislature that started with his father and will live on through legislation that helps make his district and the state a better place for future generations.

Some of Senator Jackson's successes from this year include:
  • SB 1317, which allows Indian reservations to receive monies from the State Aviation Fund for planning, design, development, acquisition of interests in land, construction and improvement of publicly owned and operated airport facilities on land that is held by an Indian or Tribal government.

    The State Aviation Fund receives revenue collected primarily from taxes on aviation properties and fuel and from aircraft registration fees. These are paid by all sources, including tribal airports, yet for decades the statute that created the State Aviation Fund ignored tribal facilities.

    This bill, which has been signed by Governor Brewer, corrects that exclusion and allows the State Transportation Board to award grants from the State Aviation Fund to make improvements at any of the 14 tribal airports in Arizona.
  • Included in this year's budget is annual funding for the Navajo Technical College to build a permanent campus in Chinle, Ariz. There is great demand for higher education in Senator Jackson's district and this support will help it set permanent roots in the community for continued growth and success.
  • Working in conjunction with Senator Kimberly Yee (R-20), a provision to her SB1447 was amended to provide a repayment plan for the Red Mesa School District.

    Located in the Four Corners region, the district had for years erroneously claimed out-of-state students as part of their average daily membership and therefore received excess student funding from the state of Arizona, which they must now repay. The district discovered the error and promptly self-reported it to the Arizona Department of Education.

    The district and Department of Education came to a repayment agreement last year, which this legislation puts into place. Instead of being devastated by an over $2 million one-time payment in the 2013-14 school year, they will now be able to repay the amount over the next four years.
“Arriving at the Arizona House in 2003 to serve alongside my father, Senator Jack C. Jackson Sr., was an incredible honor. We both vigorously continued his 19 year legacy of championing the needs of native communities, which still face many economic and social challenges. Every day I came to work at the State Capitol I endeavored to represent my people with an honorable and strong voice,” said Senator Jackson.

“In my new position I will continue striving for that same goal by ensuring a successful cooperation between Indian tribes and the federal government in areas of environmental and cultural impact.

“I have seen many successes here at the Legislature, including this year's historic restoration and expansion of AHCCCS that will help more than 300,000 Arizonans get healthcare. There is still much work to be done such as tackling the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse and negotiating the return of tax revenue collected on tribal lands, as occurs in Arizona's counties and municipalities.

“I trust my successor in the Senate will represent our district well.

“Although my husband and I are saddened to be leaving the beloved state in which we both grew up, I am excited to embrace the challenges this new position in the U. S. Department of State presents. My appointment is an incredible honor and an immense responsibility that I will undertake with the same passion I have given to representing my home district in the Arizona Legislature. In creating this position, the Obama Administration has shown its commitment to creating a purposeful dialogue with Indian country and I am confident my almost quarter century of public policy experience will serve me well as I continue to speak on behalf of Native peoples at this national level,” concluded Senator Jackson.

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