National | Politics

Democrat Bernie Sanders heads to Navajo Nation for town hall

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail. Photo from Facebook

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is hosting a town hall on the Navajo Nation on Thursday evening.

The event is open to the public. It will be held at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort in Flagstaff.

“I’m excited,” Derrick Watchman, a tribal member who serves as CEO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, told The Navajo Times. “They reached out to our general manager saying they would like to use our facility because it’s on the reservation and it’s close to Flagstaff."

The visit highlights the increased attention that the Sanders campaign is placing on Arizona. Sanders held a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday and Jane Sanders, the wife of the candidate, met with the Apache Stronghold on Sunday.

Jane Sanders, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, speaks with Wendsler Nosie Sr., a council member for the San Carlos Apache Tribe, at Oak Flat in Arizona on March 14, 2016. Photo from Jane O'Meara Sanders

The Stronghold is fighting to protect sacred Oak Flat from a copper mine. The Senator from Vermont has introduced S.2242, the Save Oak Flat Act, to stop the development.

"What an honor to be invited to Oak Flat yesterday, the sacred land of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Thank you!" Jane Sanders wrote on Twitter on Sunday. She posed for a photo with Wendsler Nosie Sr., a council member for the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

Native Americans represent 5.3 percent of the population in Arizona, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Flagstaff is located in Arizona's 1st Congressional district, which is home to more Native Americans than any other in the country. Flagstaff is also the seat of Coconino County, where Native Americans represent 27.3 percent of the population.

The Native vote could play a big role when Sanders goes up against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. A poll shows Clinton with a big lead in the state, the Phoenix Business Journal reported, but a large segment remains undecided.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders campaigned at the Meskwaki Tribal Center on the Meskwaki Settlement on September 4, 2015. Photo from Bernie Sanders

Paying attention to Indian Country has paid off for Sanders in the past. On September 4, 2015, he spoke to members of the Meskwaki Tribe and they later rewarded him by giving him the overwhelming number of votes on the Indian Settlement precinct last month.

Get the Story:
Twin Arrows to host Bernie Sanders (The Navajo Times 3/17)
Bernie Sanders to host town hall at Twin Arrows Thursday (The Arizona Daily Sun 3/17)

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